The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.

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3:24pm on Wednesday, 20th February, 2013:

I See...


I had my two-yearly eye test today. I don't get on well with these.

The first problem is the puff-of-air-to-the-eye thing, which I pull back from every time no matter how hard I try not to do so. I was supposed to have it done 4 times per eye but the person operating the machine stopped after 2 times per eye on the grounds that my reaction was even more extreme than I had led her to expect it would be. I asked her how many other people had the same problem; she said that the worst it normally gets is involuntary noises. Given how many people she must zap with that thing every day of the week, I guess I can feel pleased that I get special treatment; however, it's a little embarrassing that my reactions are so fast I can't stop them even when I'm expecting it.

The other main problem I have with eye tests is when they shine a very bright light on my retina to look for signs of damage. I find this extremely painful and my eyes stream with tears (not from crying, although at times it hurts so much I really could do). I kept asking for reassurances from the optician that she wasn't doing any damage, on the grounds that if you hear very loud noises it can damage your hearing so if you look at a very bright light then it can damage your eyesight. Afterwards, I had after-images of my own retina and I could barely see enough to walk out of the room.

Oh well, it turns out my long-distance vision is even better than it was last time, so I'm still fine to drive without glasses. My short-distance vision is marginally worse so they sold me some specs (which I'll probably wear once or twice a month if the light is bad or the writing is tiny - The Observer's "you are the ref" column is the only common candidate for it). I think the reason I'm fine without wearing glasses is in part to do with the fact I never get headaches, so I can strain my eyes and not get the side-effects other people might.

It's a bit weird not having to wear glasses when most people my age do; people tend to assume I'm wearing contact lenses or have had my cornea sizzled with a laser. If my short-distance sight got bad enough that I couldn't see a computer screen crisply, that would be the moment when I knew my time had come, though.

The best thing about it is that I only have to endure an eye test every 2 years instead of annually.

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Copyright © 2013 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).