Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Eye Inside

Went for an eye exam. Didn't really want one, but they force me to get one each time I go in to renew my contact lens supply for the year. But this time, instead of a simple chart to read, the doctor wanted to give me the "Full Monty" of comprehensive exams.

Geez, I felt like a lab rat. What gives with all these different machines now? There was a row of them, like a gauntlet of increasingly complex torture devices lined up against the wall. It reminded me of circuit training at the gym.

The first machine tested my distance vision, whatever the hell that means. I wasn't aware there was any other type of vision for a 33 year old.

Next came one to measure the pressure inside my eyeballs. That turned out fine. After this, a fun little device that tests your peripheral vision. I had to stare into a small opening at a pattern of three red laser dots grouped together at the center of a wide circle -- not unlike the Predator targeting scope from the movies. I had to keep my eyes focused on the red dots while a white dot blinked on and off at random spots and frequency off-center of the circle. Each time I spotted a small, white pinprick flash in my periphery, I had to click a button on this device in my hand. It was strangely akin to whack-a-mole, complete with the software trying to fake you out with lengthy pauses to catch trigger-happy nimrods. Little did they know I have superior video-gaming skills, and that this was actually right down my alley!

I aced it, of course. The woman giving the test was surprised by how fast I clicked to each flash of light. She said my response time was way quicker than average.

Thanks Asteroids, Galaga, and Missile Command! 50 billion quarters and most of my 80s childhood wasted at the arcades has finally paid off!

After all this, I still had one more machine to submit my precious eyeballs to: a high-tech retina mapping imager. I don't know what's the official word for it, but this is a big round machine that needs its own separate room. Yet in operation it's quite simple. You stare into yet another small round hole while a big, bright green rotating laser flashes you from right to left and takes a digital image of the back of your eye. This is to make sure your retinas are healthy and not in danger of becoming detached. Because, if you lose a retina . . . that's it. You're blind, bucko!

Anyway, no bad news to report. Everything checked out fine. After all this, I then had to see the actual doctor. This is where I did the standard eye chart and stare into the impossibly bright light while being told not to blink routine. You would think a place concerned with the health of your eyes would try to not blind its patients with so many bright lights at once, right? You would think, but you'd be wrong.

The doc, a short young Asian dude (who mumbled and was a bit rude) then informed me that he would dilate my eyes.

Why ever would you want to do that? I asked.

To check the inside of your eyes, he said.

But isn't this what that Death Star optical blaster machine did? The one I *just* came from and which left me blinking green for 5 minutes?

Apparently, that machine really is just for retinas. But the doc needed to peer behind my pupils to check for cornea health and all that jazz. I still didn't understand why they couldn't have the machine see this, but went along with it anyway.

So, for 30 minutes I had to sit and wait for the special yellow-acid eye drops from hell to numb my eyes to the point my pupils simply gave up and spread wide. 30 minutes of me wondering why the fuck the lights all around me are suddenly HURTING like stabbing needles inside my brain. Seriously, I had a major headache by minute 15 and eventually had to pull out my own shades to protect myself.

Wait, wasn't he supposed to warn me about this? Not just tell me to wander around the streets outside and come back a half hour later? Also, I thought you're supposed to get special shades to protect your eyes when you go in for these tests? Why was I relying on my own resources in this moment?

Like I said, this doc was clueless. It made me pretty pissed. When I came back in, he saw me with my shades on and said: Oh, good idea. Everyone should wear shades more often.

Oh, no shit doc? Like how about when their pupils are the size of fucking SAUCER PLATES? I would think especially then, right?

Anyway, he then proceeded to shine more bright lights into my eyes. And this time I was seeing bright splotches for what felt like forever. Ow! But he said everything looked good, and that my pupils would return to normal after a couple of hours.

That's it? I was subjected to this much pain and assholery just for a 1-minute evaluation? And they wonder why I always turned this procedure down in the past. I knew it would be a big pain in my ass -- and I was right!

Anyway, I got my contact lenses renewed and am done with this place for at least another year.

How was your day?


Rodney said...

Yeah, I went through the same thing when I decided to upgrade my glasses after over 6 years. Although, the doc I went to didn't give me shades, he did keep me in his office for the half hour to dilate my pupils.

Dude, you're a writer. Isn't the word "paid", not "payed"?

David Batista said...

I'm a writer not a copy editor. Editors everywhere just snorted at the idea of writers actually knowing the English language.

No, seriously, you didn't really think writers know grammar and how to spell did you? Tsk, tsk . . . silly Rodney. :)

Thanks, btw. I made the correction.

Ashe Hunt said...

Yeah, I HATE going to get my eyes checked. I'm actually overdue for a checkup but DAMN I hate that shit. Though in the military and the VA when they dilate your pupils they give these flimsy throw away shades. I think it's kind of weird these private money hungry doctors don't take better care of you guys. And, yeah, I never understood flashing super bright lights in ones eyes. That just seemed counter productive. Seems like an institutionalized design to keep you hooked on the system. If you believe in that sort of tdhing.

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