I remember it so well. I was 10 years old, sitting in the back of my 5th grade classroom when one day, out of the blue, I could not see the board without squinting. An eye exam revealed that I had fallen victim to the family curse of myopia. It seems my pubescent body had decided to grow and forgotten to remind my retinas what the growing schedule was.
And it’s only gotten worse ever since.
I started wearing glasses and going for regular eye exams. By the time I hit 25 (pretty late, huh?) I opted for contacts and discovered that I actually had a nice face without the specs. I still wear glasses at night and on alternating Wednesday’s.
My kids seem to have received a nice mix of genes from yours truly. Son seems to have no ocular problems whatsoever while Baby Girl, though not near-sighted, has a slightly crossed eye requiring the same kind of glasses my late twin sister wore when she was around the same age.
Tonight I was due for my checkup with the optometrist. I always have fun visiting with these eye-wizards. I appreciate that you went to school for this craft and all but believe me, I know about as much regarding my vision as you do at this point.
They stick you in front of a million machines with chin rests – devices that resemble hard plastic jockstraps for little people – and subject you to a better of tests. First there’s the “puff of air” test. I don’t know what twist-o thought this one up or what it’s even supposed to reveal. I think it’s just to mess with you. “Just sit right here and look at the” – “OHMYGOD!!! Why did you do that to me?!” Then there’s a test where you look into a box and see a pretty little farmhouse go in and out of focus repeatedly. Again, not sure why. I asked the technician if it was a real farmhouse. “You know, does it belong to someone? Like, is it the doctor’s summer home?” She shrugged. There’s also the optic photo. This one replaced the dilation they used to do. Thank God because I used to refuse the reversing drops and I’d leave the office looking like an anime cartoon character.
But the best test of all comes when the doctor finally enters the room. “I’m going to place this machine against your head. Could you tell me which image looks better to you?” I want to tell him “It’s a bunch of letters on a white background. Warhol couldn’t make these things look ‘better’.” “OK,” he says, “Better? Worse? How about now? Number 1? Number 2? OK, do you like A? or B?” This continues for a few minutes and somehow he magically knows what to fit me with.
I have reached the point where I feel confident saying: “Listen pal, leave the room. I’ll flip these metal plates around myself and call you back in when I’ve found the right prescription.”
Alas, that might be rude. So I leave the office and head to… the showroom!
OK, only an hour before I’m comfortable leaving the office having chosen frames that I’m positive I’ll love for the next two years but will probably hate within a month.
Oh, and Baby Girl recently broke her glasses. Guess what aren’t under warranty. It seems when the glasses fly off one’s face in a fight with your brother in a minivan and then get stepped on by Granny trying to break up said fight, the manufacturer is allowed to shirk responsibility for a poorly made frame. Go figure.
And for the record, my prescription improved got the first time in 27 years!