February 5, 2007

The Eye Doctor

In the dark room I hear the soft Asian voice, "One or two...one or two?"
"Two."
"Two or three?" asks the voice.
"...I'm not sure."
"Two or three," the voice drones.
"Three? No, two! Actually, could I see three again?"

And on and on it goes. My forehead sticks to the greasy mask and he flips the lenses again. "Five or six?" I couldn't tell you the difference between five and six if you'd had gun to my head. I listen carefully to his voice to catch some verbal hints to the answer but he's a pro. I panic and blurt out "five" to end the suspense. Surely he realizes that's the wrong answer - I'm on the verge of confessing my bluff but suddenly the room is flooded by fluorescent lights and the mask removed. The doctor looks silently over my file and scribbles in my chart. This is it - the moment of truth. Did I pass?

"Your prescription has not changed."

Another year, another slim escape. My vision is -5.50. This means that I can't distinguish how many fingers my husband is holding up from a few feet away. Without contacts I couldn't leave my bedroom. So once a year I have to make the call and set up an appointment to renew my prescription.

I've been wearing contacts since I was 14. When my eye doctors inevitably ask how often I change my lenses I respond honestly - once it hurts to blink so about every two months. Then I let loose my yearly speech, "I'm so sorry I don't change my contacts enough. I know I'm doing irreparable harm to my vision. I promise to change my ways. This time it will be different. I don't want to go blind."

I feel like the alcoholic petitioning for a liver transplant. Any good doctor would turn me away with disgust but I need these contacts. Yes, I will wear them for 2 months running instead of two weeks. Yes, I will swim and shower with them in. Yes, when one falls out of my dry, bloodshot eye I will lick it and grind it back in. But I must have them. Every doctor so far has turned out to be a push-over and has given me another year's chance. But I know I'll be blind by thirty.

This doctor is no different. After I apologize profusely for my poor habits he smiles and hands me a box of free sample contacts along with my new prescription. Sucker. He'll feel really stupid when I go blind next month and run him over. He totally has it coming.

19 comments:

Amy said...

It was a revelation to me when one year I dared answered the "three or four?" question with "They look the same." To my delight the doctor was pleased with my response, as if I had really done something. Seems not fair that the right answer wasn't one of the choices, though. It's a trick question. Anyhow, I can top you in some bizare boast of horrible vision: my prescription is -11.5 in one eye and -12 in the other. Yes, I have had eye doctors laugh out loud at me. And sadly, I'm beyond the realm of current LASIK technology. Sigh.

AzĂșcar said...

Hmm, glad to know I'm not the only one streeetttcchhinng how long those contacts are in use. I figure I still take them out at night, they get a nice bath in expensive solution, why shouldn't they last two months?!

amanda f. said...

who doesn't wear their two weeks disposables for about two months? this post was so true, so true about those great trips to the eye doctor. i am always amazed when they get to the final lenses, what is supposed to be your prescription, and it really does look perfect. how can they do that when i am never sure between 5 and 6?

Sarah said...

Amy - that's got to be the worst prescription I've ever heard of by FAR! I'll have to remember that little tip about the eye exam for next time.

Mumsy said...

Uh, you think she's taking them out at night during those two months? Think again.

Bex said...

yikes! I'm staying off the roads!

Adrienne said...

I have it on good authority that the 2 week contacts, the 1 month contacts and the 6 month contacts all come off the same assembly line. Just take them out and clean them once in a while and you should be fine.

Bek said...

I seem to have dodged the contacts curse. I am the only sibling that doesn't wear them...yet. My time will come soon, I am sure...

:-)

citymama1 said...

I think this would be a good time to brag about my 20/20 vision. Suckas! :)
But I can empathize, slightly. My husband has horrible vision and can't see past his nose without some sort of assistance. Once, as a joke I hid his glasses. Didn't go over to well. He lectured me on how it would be poor form to take a prosthetic leg from someone, and how hiding someone's glasses is essentially the same thing. Point taken, lesson learned. I'm sure I'll be blind in my next life.

Anonymous said...

The contact manufacturer/optition thing is a racket. You can't buy contacts without a current prescription and you can't go without contacts unless you have glasses that were purchased within the last decade.

Optitions charge more for contact exams -> Contacts are disposable -> you can't get a supply of contacts without the more expensive eye exam EVERY YEAR even though it would be more reasonable for a healthy young woman to go every two or three years.

See the corruption? The manipulation?

The Wiz said...

Ok, a little trick I learned before the beauty that is LASIK. (and my prescription was worse than yours, I was -6.5) I too had been wearing contacts since the age of 14. Glasses since age 7.

1-800-contacts. Just tell them your current prescription, they check to see if it is indeed current, but they are totally OK with sending you a two year supply, possibly longer. All their liability is 'do you have a current prescription', for all they know you need a longer supply because you are freakish about changing them every day instead of every 2 weeks because you have OCD.

It cuts way down on the "number one/two" thing, and especially if your prescription doesn't change, you don't need to go every year. Every other year is fine, in my book. Of course, I could be driving you to blindness faster than you are currently headed.....

Also, with a stable prescription, go for LASIK baby!! They won't do it while you're pregnant or nursing, because pregnancy does weird stuff to your eyesight at times (isn't there any part of your body pregnancy DOESN"T affect? Your eyelashes, maybe?Yeesh). But the longer you wait, the better the lasers get, anyway. But the longer you wait, the longer you have to be blind.

So start saving now and when you're done having kids, go get that surgery if you can. It is so life changing. I no longer live in fear that I won't be able to find my contacts in an earthquake, and I will have to help my family survive while not being able to see a thing.

Heather O. said...

Dh jokes that I have spidey senses, like extremely acute hearing and a strong sense of smell because my body has evolved to deal with the fact that my eyesight sucks. I don't like going to the eye doctor either, mostly because during one of those "one, or two?" exams, the doctor starting laughing at me. I was a teenager, and just blushed, but now I would have to guts to say, "What the heck are you laughing at, bozo? You have no idea what I'm seeing here!" I wear my contacts little longer than I should, too, but I stopped licking them after I got recurring conjnctivitis. Never confessed to my doc, though. Hmm, don't know why I have pus oozing from my eyeballs, it just happened.

The perfect hearing, by the way, is totally true. I had it tested when I was in grad school doing my audiology practical, and it is literally classified as clinically perfect. Yes, I am bragging about my hearing because my eyesight totally blows. A girl's gotta have something.

Lisa said...

Ha Ha!

amanda f. said...

i can back up "the wiz" on her little trick. it is a good trick. on the day before my prescription ran out, i ordered a "year supply" of two-week disposable contacts from 1-800-CONTACTS. i change them about every two months, so they are set to last me for FOUR YEARS! my prescription hasn't changed in over 10 years, so i don't feel too bad about avoiding my trips to the eye doctor.

Silly Marie said...

The last contacts I got were the night and day wear. They're better than regular and you shouldn't feel one bit bad about leaving them in for a month at a time without changing them because that's what they're made to do. I actually had my doctor tell me that he personally wears his monthly contacts for two months without changing them or taking them out, but that he couldn't professionally recommend that because the contact manufacturers don't.

Since I have super sensitive eyes I can only wear them about 4 days before my eyes start hurting. So my one month pairs tend to last me up to 6-7 months, maybe longer, since I don't wear them a full month straight.

I also found out that one of my eyes is smaller than the smallest size of contacts to ensure a proper fit, so that makes my eyes more sensitive to them.

Colleen said...

My favorite eye doctor didn't even blink when I told her I never took out my contacts. She laughed and said, "Yeah, my husband does that too. As long as your eyes keep looking good, it's no big deal." A more recent visit got me a big ol' lecture from an eye doctor who probably wasn't any older than I am. Even though she's probably right, I still hate her.

acte gratuit said...

I love surprise endings! Sorry Eye Doctor, but your time has obviously come.

Sue said...

Oh gosh, you are hilarious. HILL-AIR-EE-US. I have nothing else to say, I'm just laughing my butt off.

Mrs. M said...

But, you guys, please be careful. I was a day-and-night-longer-than-a-month-straight
contact wearer too, until I got a corneal ulcer! These things can make you blind in 48 hours or less. I got away with a small scar on my cornea that doesn't affect my vision. Now I wear my contacts all day, take them out at night, and after a month, I change them.