Monday, February 16, 2009

Going to the Eye Doctor: It's not a Pass/Fail Exam

One of my contact lenses is not working correctly these days. I can see just fine out of my right eye, but the left eye doesn't cooperate. After a little experimentation, I reached the conclusion that it wasn't the eye--but the contact. So, with some trepidation, I made an appointment to see the eye doctor.

A year and a half ago, David went to see this same eye doctor, and before all was said and done, David had to run around to a specialist to make sure he didn't have a brain tumor in his head. The eye doctor didn't like the way his eyeballs were looking. It was a great relief when 6 weeks went by and finally the specialist said, "No problem."

Since it was my turn to go to the eye doctor and I always worry that the worst will happen, I was pretty concerned with what he might say. As I sat in the chair and he flipped the lenses and asked me over and over, "Is this better or worse? Which is better, one or two?," I was reminded of the same experience when I was a child.

I have acute astigmatism and my parents took me to the eye doctor at a young age--probably ten. Visiting the optometrist became very traumatic for me--something I never shared with anyone except David--only last week, some 40 years later. As the childhood me sat in the optometrist chair and looked through the lenses, I felt mortified that I couldn't see. It was as if I was failing the test. From that point onward, I dreaded going to the eye doctor. Each time I sat in the chair and struggled to see the letters with the same sinking feelings--I frequently guessed the letters and then prayed that I would be right. No one ever explained to me that this was not a pass/fail exam.

Last week I went into the optometrist office and didn't worry too much about what I could or couldn't see. My eyesight is what it is. The eye doctor didn't tell me that I might have a brain tumor. He did tell me that astigmatism is a natural state for my eyes. Then he ordered me some new contact lenses.

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