Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Eye Exam

I picked up my contacts today from my eye doctor. I had had an eye exam a few weeks ago with Dr. M.C. at Studio Optix. I kind of like getting eye exams. First, they're pretty non-invasive except for that weird puff-of-air test for glaucoma. Secondly, there's no sense of apprehension for me unlike going to the dentist or a regular doctor. I don't have any serious problems with my eyes, despite my habit of sticking things in my eye. Also, it's kind of fun for me to talk to doctors about health issues because it makes me feel smart and knowledgable throwing out eye doctor jargon like "base curve" and "astigmatic". Maybe it's also nostalgia for me too, since I grew up in a family of doctors.

My eye exam was pretty routine. This was my first time visiting this eye doctor since my old one doesn't take my new insurance. When I walked in, I saw like 100 pictures of celebrities posing with my doctor. Oh, he's one of THOSE doctors. Leave it to me to find THE eye doctor of Manhattan, apparently. Although most of his pictures must have been taken like 20 years ago. Think Julia Roberts from Mystic Pizza or Leonardo DiCaprio from Growing Pains. It's like, get some new pictures, DOCTOR!

My doctor asked me how my contacts feel and asked me whether I get dry eyes a lot. Not really, I replied and then explained how I've been buying these contacts for the last 6 years because at the time when I got contacts for the first time, only one company made contacts that fit my eye, specifically my base curve. I have a very high numerical base curve (9.5) meaning that my eye, or my eyeball rather, is pretty flat. I always told people that with some weird sense of pride because I liked the idea of special contacts just for me. Well, apparently another company now makes contacts in my prescription with my base curve. I tried them out and then went ahead and ordered a year's supply since these new ones felt good and I was running out anyway. Dr. M.C. actually gave me an extra two pairs for free because I had waited patiently for 45 minutes for my appointment since they were running behind schedule.

After the main part of exam was over, my doctor asked me if I wanted to take a peripheral vision test. Hmmm, I'd have to pay an extra $15 for this since my insurance doesn't cover it, and I was sure my peripheral vision was fine. But then I thought what the hell, I'll do it. I had already gotten the puff of air test, a vision test, and my pupils dialated. I might as well go all out while I'm here.

Clearly, I had forgotten what the peripheral vision test was. The doctor's assistant brought me over to a table, and I see this weird contraption that looked like a cross between a computer and an individual movie screen. Then my heart started palpitating. Oh my god. This was THAT test. Crap. This was that very same test that I had failed when I was 16, getting my first driver's license. I remember it vividly. I was at the DMV, which by the way, growing up in Virginia, I thought stood for Drivers & Motors of Virginia. Then when I left for college in Pennsylvania, I was like "Wow, you guys call it DMV too."

Anyway, that day I was all excited about getting my first license. I was so close to getting that little plastic card. I had passed the written and driving test and all I had to do was do this little peripheral vision test where I was supposed to see blinking lights to my right and to my left and press a button when I saw them. Well, this will be a piece of cake, I thought to myself. I peered into the little viewing goggles and waited...and waited...and waited. Um, where are the lights? The DMV woman asked "Do you see anything?" I answered, "No, what am I supposed to see?" My dad looked in the thing and so did the woman, and they both asked "You don't see the lights???" "What lights?," I replied.

Well, I never saw those damn lights, and to this day I think that machine was broken or something. I had to go to an eye doctor after my embarrassing test failure and me panicking that I had degenerative eyes, and get a special note saying that my peripheral vision was fine, which it really was. Maybe I did see the lights, but I didn't know they were actually the lights I was looking for, if that makes any sense. So when I got my second ever peripheral vision test with Dr. M.C., flashbacks of my traumatic experience as a 16 year old flashed back in my head. Luckily it turned out this test was a little different. This test turned out to be more like an arcade game, like Space Invaders or something. All these blinking dark bars flashed all over the screen--to my left, to my right, up, down, etc and I pressed this little joystick thing whenever I saw them.

This time I passed with flying colors. Whew. Another traumatic experience avoided.


EM said...

congrats. i thought that test at the DMV was pretty nifty actually. easier than the written or driving tests, lol. the new peripheral vision test sounds like fun though.

teahouse said...

Hooray for Space Invaders!

I used to get asked by other kids on the playground, "Do you see less than other people?" - because of my slanty Asian eyes. Implying that I had less peripheral vision.

My response? To kick them in the shins and growl, "How the hell do I know, idiot? I've never seen through anybody else's eyes!!"

Kristy said...

OK. First of all, I think that test at the DMV - you have to press your forehead onto the machine to make it work. Maybe you weren't pressing, but just resting.

Second of all, one of the meds I'm on has like .0000001% chance of making my peripheral vision disappear, so I have to do that test every other year. I always pass, but I actually hate it. The doctor always puts the fear of God into me by telling me I shouldn't blink (who the hell can NOT blink for 5 minutes?) or move at all. I've since discovered you can blink a bit, but still. It irritates me. But then, I don't much like going to the eye doctor. I'm fine with the dentist and the regular doctor.

Although I do love the color blindness test. That one is always a hoot. =)

Bruno Hill said...

@teahouse - Your response to those kids was hilarious! Haha! What you said is literally true! How would you really know? I can't help but laugh! But seriously, Asian eyes aren't far off from other eyes when it comes to functionality. If they are checked by an optometrist, they can see how far their peripheral visions are. Hmm. Have you tried asking one?

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Keith Allen said...

Eye check up is very important, It should be done at least once a year.