Last Friday Tim and I had our annual eye appointments. It was a little more interesting than usual, for me anyway, because it was my first "regular" eye checkup since my cataract surgery last year. Spoiler alert: I passed with flying colours :) Yay me! (Tim did really good too!)
But I got to thinking, while I was waiting for my pupils to dilate, how my eye appointment is one of the longest appointments of any sort of doctor check up I do annually. Seriously! I don't mean that we wait for a small eternity in the waiting room. That is not the case at all. Patients are called in fairly quickly. I mean the actual, appointment itself. And it isn't just this particular doctor office, it's every eye doctor office I've ever been to, since the beginning of my optometry experiences. And in fact, I think they have gotten longer as time has gone by.
There are so very many steps to each appointment. Yes of course the first step is checking in, handing over ID and insurance cards and filling out paperwork. That happens at EVERY sort of doctor appointment. Then the very short wait. Then...it's this room for this sort of test and then that room for that sort of test and then reviewing information and answering lots of questions and then the familiar old eye chart part and then ...well it does go on and on.....and on!
Of course they do have new awesome testing machinery and using each of those naturally adds more time to the appointment. It's all way cool stuff that looks inside of your eye and maps every little thing going on in there. It's both creepy and brilliant at the same time. Whenever I see the pictures taken of my eyeball innards I get that wierd little ick chill first which is followed immediately by fascination and amazement.
One of the other things that makes the appointment longer than other sorts of appointments is the administering of multiple different sorts of eye drops and waiting for the pupils to dilate. With Tim it takes a VERY long time for those beautiful brown eyes to react to the drops (so the wait is even longer) and then the dilation doesn't last very long so they have a tiny window of perfection to work within. My blue eyes on the other hand, react almost instantaneously and then it takes the rest of the day for it to wear off.
So driving home is an interesting proposition (if in fact I am the one driving) and once I get home, I find myself hiding from the light like one of the mole-people. I wear my sunglasses inside the house for hours, wince at the light from the computer screen or the television and if I am forced to go outside into the sunlight, I squint with one hand acting as a hat brim, sunglasses firmly in place and I sprint to the mailbox, grab the mail without looking up and retreat back into the cool relative darkness of the house. It is such a weird feeling because normally I am like a cat moving from sunny spot to sunny spot through the house throughout the day.
I was also thinking that for all of the new and astounding knowledge about eyes, the surgeries they can perform, the new testing they can do, the medicines that they have, one thing that really hasn't changed much is the eye chart itself.
That big old E on top (which used to be the only letter I could read with any measure of reliability with glasses) is still right there.
I got my first pair of glasses when I was 3 years old so obviously I had an eye test. I saw that eyechart for the very first time 62 years ago! Wow! I was an early reader so I actually could use that very chart. But do any of you remember a brief period of time...probably late 50'ss when for children the chart was all capital letter E's pointed in different directions? An innovation at the time (but used only briefly I suspect) the idea was that the small child, instead of having to determine the actual letter only had to point their own fingers in the direction of the horizontal lines of the various E's. I actually remember folding my thumb and pinkie fingers down to make the 3 lines of the E and moving my hand in the direction of each of the E's that I could read (which honestly wasn't all that many). I didn't have to say a word, just move my hand to mimic the picture being pointed to with a long handled pointer.
I really like our new eye doctor and his office staff. Everyone is pleasant and professional and the set-up is very efficient. But it's still the longest appointment we endure every year. Of necessity I have no doubt, still, it's one I am always glad is only a once a year thing.
Which is a reminder from me to you, make sure you take care of your eyes! You only get the one set y'know.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.