26 June 2007

To See or Not to See

I had Lasik some years ago on my left eye. As a child, I had a bit of a lazy eye -- the left one wandered a bit. As a result, the left eye was much weaker than the right, which was just slightly nearsighted. I wore glasses & contacts for years, and then I was convinced to try the laser surgery.

Unlike many people, I had a bad experience with it. I had terrible, awful dry eye after the procedure, and I never felt my vision was as good as it had been with glasses. This was partly the result of the dryness. The layer of fluid is a lens, of a sort. But it was never bad enough to go back to glasses or contact lenses -- just something to squint through.

Last year, I went to an ophthalmologist, who said that in his opinion, my vision was still not bad enough to warrant glasses. In addition, my nearsightedness has delayed the onset of presbyopia -- the need for bifocals. So I happily continued my squinting.

Well, I'm tired of squinting. So I went to a "therapeutic optometrist" today. I'm not sure how a "therapeutic optometrist" is different fom a plain old optometrist, but this place was on my insurance company's list of preferred vision care providers, so that's where I went.

If you haven't been to the eye doctor for a while, it's worth a trip just to see all the cool toys. Among the video games we played was one that measures your peripheral vision. You click a mouse every time you see a flash of light. After a while, you begin to wonder whether you're seeing new flashes of white light or ghosts from the previous flash of white light. Very fun. I wonder if they are measuring reaction time as much as they are measuring peripheral vision.... I didn't get a prize, but the nice young doc also didn't try to talk me out of driving home...

Anyway, the doc was a nice fella who said I don't need a very strong prescription, but he could certainly understand if I'm tired of squinting and particularly have trouble driving at night. (I actually don't have any more trouble driving at night than I do during the day, but then, I don't drive at night very often. The problem is reading street signs or anything else more than 3 feet from my face -- day or night.) Anyway he was sympathetic to my desire to see clearly at distance. He did warn me, however, that if I get glasses for distance, I should always take them off to read. He even showed me why. Very instructive.

And so the optical dispenser gals, a couple of cute 20-somethings with little nose pierces, helped me pick out some new driving & movie-watching glasses. (What's weird is that one had her pierce on the left nostril & one had it on the right. It felt wrong, like something was out of sync.) I believe they helped me pick out something stylish and yet not ridiculous for a person my age....

Now, we wait. Seven to 10 more days of squinting.

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