How trips to the eye doctor change once you reach "this age"

Monday, April 30, 2012 | |

Today, in the midst of a typical day at the office, I snuck out for my annual eye exam.

While there’s no sign telling me to announce my presence upon arrival, I know this is the accepted practice at every doctor’s office on the planet, so I provided my name to the woman behind the counter and told her that I was here for my appointment.

She seemed puzzled and mumbled to herself, “ are, are you?” as she glanced at the computer screen in front of her, robbing me immediately of the confidence I’d had when I walked in. An instant later she said, “Oh, yes you’ve been here many times,” which seemed to imply that those with a long history of bad eyesight would certainly have their appointments honoured.

The woman, “Helen,” asked me to follow her and another young woman to the examination room. There, the younger woman was introduced to me as “the intern” in much the same way one might refer to “the desk” or “the chair.”

While my forehead and chin were pressed unnaturally against the outside of a machine, Helen gave the intern a quick lesson on how the machine worked and how they were going to record whatever measurements it spit out. Then, she said, “Because of his age, we’ll also need to do this test here,” her hand pointing to something on the other side of the machine I obviously couldn’t see. I chose to ignore the comment about my age and instead braced myself for whatever the machine might soon do – shooting bursts of air into my unsuspecting eyes or merely blinding me with bright lights are the two options of which I am most fond.

I was pleased to learn that I was only asked to refrain from blinking for about seven minutes and focus on a series of green squares, while ignoring the red line that dissected the squares that was impossible not to notice. The tests done, I was told that the machine had taken pictures of my eyes and that I would be reviewing with my eye doctor. I could hardly wait.

Led out of the first waiting room, I was taken to another where my eye doctor was waiting. I was asked to read letters projected on the wall, while covering one eye with a paddle and strap myself into another machine, telling my eye doctor that one was clearer than two, three was clearer than one and five was obviously for an entirely different patient.

The final test was to hold a card at arm’s length and read a short paragraph. I was able to see it clearly and while I don’t remember the exact words, it went something like:

In today’s society there a great many instances of men having to chase their hats...

When I was finished with those words, without thinking, I said, “Well, isn’t that the truth?” My doctor burst out laughing and I was reminded that with each passing day, I’m becoming more like my father.

As we were finished with the tests, my doctor turned to her computer and clicked on the pictures of my eyes taken in the next room. “So this is the back of your eye,” she said, as she pointed to something that looked like the moon with a series of red rivers running through it. The rivers, she explained, were blood vessels and she asked me if it bothered me to look at these pictures. “No, I’m fine,” I lied, as I felt my hands grow cold.

“This is the optical nerve,” she continued, “And this is the macular area,” her tone indicating that the white and the black moon spots were exactly as she had hoped they would be.

My second moon looked just like my first and I was told that these pictures allowed for a profile view, where the layers of the eye’s moon rivers could be better seen. The screen changed to what appeared to be a mountain range and I learned that my mountain moon eyes dipped in exactly the right place.

At my age...I can’t tell you what a relief that was.


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Pearlie Mccubbin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pearlie Mccubbin said...

I really don’t know how old you are, but I think we would both agree that regular eye check-ups have significant effects on our eye health. Oftentimes, a blurring vision is taken for granted, and many people think that they can live through it without going to the doctor. It is only when they sense major loss of vision or pain that they come to the doctor. By that time, there is a huge chance that the condition is irreversible.

Pearlie Mccubbin

Grant Weber said...

I agree with Pearlie! Regular visits to your ophthalmologist will help you maintain good eyesight. Don’t just go to your doctor when the condition has already worsened. I believe we all have to care for our eyes because they’re one of the most important parts of our body, and they perform a very important function.

Grant Weber

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