Thursday, February 22, 2007


Nothing stresses me out more than going to get my eyes examined. It's not that I'm particularly squeamish about someone messing with my eyes, or that I dislike having to wear those disposable My-Eyes-Are-Dilated sunglasses afterwards, or that I'm worried that the glaucoma detecting tube that shoots out air is placed too close to my frickin' eyeball and it's going to poke my eye out.

What I'm really worried about is flunking the eye exam. And by eye exam I don't mean where I have to read the minuscule coded message on the wall. I mean the part where I actively participate and potentially screw everything up by looking through this crazy contraption that makes me feel like some giant metallic cartoon insect. All I need to do is state whether my vision was better the first way, or the second way, as the optometrist fiddles with the device.

It intuitively seems like this test should be a no-brainer. A monkey can ace this test. Just look through this bizarre device, and just tell the optometrist whether your vision was better the first way... or the second way. But it just isn't that easy.

First of all, I feel like I should have a definite and doubt-free answer within a second or two. Because it shouldn't take a genius to differentiate between blurry and clear. Yet, sometimes it does take a bit. And I feel a bit stressed out that I might be taking too long. So I feel pressured to answer quickly.

Optometrist: This way... [flip flip!] or this way?

Me: Uhhh... hmm... uh...


Me: The... first way.

Me: NO! Wait! The second way. Sorry. Definitely the second way.

Me: Uh.... you know what, the first way. Sorry.

I also feel bad asking the optometrist to repeatedly flip back and forth between the two lenses he's chosen. I don't want to aggravate him by taking too long to choose, because he always seems to want to flip through about a hundred different lenses, but I want to make sure I choose the right one. But at the same time, I don't want to take too long and be a pest and end up getting an abbreviated version of the eye exam because he just can't take my indecisive behavior any more and cuts corners to get the appointment over with.

All of this crazy behavior stems from a bad experience I once had. I messed it up once when I was little, with the end result being a pair of glasses with the wrong prescription. When my new glasses arrived, I put them on, and I couldn't see a damn thing. I tell this to the optometrist, who then tells me to wait and let my eyes adjust to the new prescription. So I spend the next week with a massive headache. When my eyes still won't adjust, we go back to the optometrist and find out that my prescription was all wrong.

The optometrist blames me, a little 9-year old kid, for screwing up the eye exam and I ultimately end up developing this bizarre complex. Damn that man!

So now, whenever I'm sitting there at the office, looking through that crazy device, I get so worked up and nervous and sweaty that the heat coming off of my flushed face often ends up fogging up the damn thing. At first I don't realize that I'm fogging anything up, everything just starts to get blurrier and blurrier the more the optometrist messes with the machine.

Of course I think its due to whatever the optometrist is doing, so I'm telling him that everything he does is making things worse and giving contradicting answers to all of the lens flipping he does. He starts to get confused and aggravated. Which then makes me more nervous and flustered, which then fogs up the machine more. It's at about this time I realize that I'm fogging up the machine, we stop, wipe it down, and restart. I'm even more embarrassed now, on top of being all worked up, so this cycle just repeats over and over again.

Yet, somehow, I manage to get through my eye appointments. It's amazing that I haven't been kicked out of an optometrist's office yet.