The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.

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12:56pm on Wednesday, 27th September, 2006:

46. Not bad.


I went to the optician's today to have my eyes tested, and have been told that I finally need to wear glasses. My long-range vision is fine, but my short-range vision isn't in my right eye. I should be getting severe headaches as a result of the mismatch, but as I've never had a headache in my life I've not really noticed.

So, reading glasses it is. I'm quite pleased to have reach the age of 46 before needing them, though — that's much further than most people get. I don't have them yet, though, mainly because I wasn't impressed by any of the frames. I basically had the choice of looking like my dad or like my brother. I opted for the brother look. I'd have preferred to have frameless ones, but was told that they weren't practical for reading glasses as they break easily if you keep taking them on and off. I tried full frames but found the line at the bottom distracting, so I went for half frames. These were easier to see through than full frames and less likely to fall to peieces than frameless ones, but they didn't have a great choice. It wasn't a case of choosing the best so much as choosing the least worst.

I eventually found a pair that were an OK shape but they only had them in blue. I asked the sales assistant if they had them in any other colours, but she said no. My eyes are brown, not blue, so I made her look through the drawer. She found some burgundy ones, but nothing neutral (gold would have been OK) or my eye colour (I asked "do you have any in bloodshot?", but she was completely humourless).

Eventually, I procrastinated to the point where she admitted that there might perhaps be some other colours in the main warehouse that served the whole country. Sure enough, when she sat down at the computer, it told her they did them in black. I've no idea what they'll look like on, but they can't be less me than blue or burgundy so I'll probably go for them.

The eye test itself was a major trial. The blow-puffs-of-air-into-your-eye opening, which makes me leap back every single time they do it (and they do it 6 times) was prely a prequel to the later shining-a-bright-light-onto-your-retina agony. I had tears streaming down my cheeks within seconds of its starting, the unsympathetic optician getting increasingly cross at my inability to keep my eyes "wide open". She found some kind of an "old scar" on my left eye retina, which necessitated further inspection with a hand-held instrument that I really need to ask Amnesty International to add to their list of torture devices. By the end, I was unable to see anything but corkscrew-shaped after-images dancing on a blur. I realise some people take mind-altering drugs just to get this effect, but it wasn't pleasant. To be honest, last month's cyst-removal exercise was easier to endure.

I'm going to take precautions next time and wear sunglasses.

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Copyright © 2006 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).