Thursday, 21 January 2010

Eye eye

We had more snow yesterday while I was out having my eyes tested.  It was bizarre, everyone in the opticians shop rushed to the windows and made little noises of dismay.  Disappointingly, nobody smacked face-first into the glass due to not having the right specs on. 

"Ooooh no, more snow!"

"How will I get home?  I'd better phone my boyfriend."  It was 10am.

"Ugh, look at it...and I forgot my wellies, I'll get soaked."

The sheer panic-stations reaction wouldn't have been out of place in a submarine that had just heard the first depth charge.

Needless to say, the snow turned to sleet, then to rain, in the space of half an hour and everyone was able to get on with their lives.

It's been a couple of years since I had my eyes tested, and they have added new and funky tests since I was last in the Chair Of All-Seeing.  They did the usual red/green things, and the "is it better with lens A or lens B" which I always panic about, because after the first two or three lenses my eyes go all fuzzy anyway making me live in fear of coming home with a prescription for The Wrong Glasses.

With hilarious consequences, no doubt.

Anyhoo, I blundered through all the normal tests, had the horrible eye pressure test, where they squirt a puff of air INTO YOUR EYEBALL which is every bit as revolting as it sounds, and waited expectantly for my new prescription. 

"Your prescription hasn't changed," said the 12-year-old optician, handing me the paperwork and my tatty old specs, "but you'll be wanting to replace these, won't you?"   I nodded, ashamed of my skanky old glasses. 

"Oh, you need the photographs of your eyeballs, and you have to do the peripheral vision tests.  My colleague will do that for you."

She booted me out of her tiny (and frankly foul-smelling) office, handing me over to her colleague.  I don't know if it's a condition of employment in there, but none of the staff were over about 5'2".  It was like being in Munchkin Land. 

The peripheral vision tests were conducted in a sort of curtained-off alcove in a corridor.  They had fitted a curtain track to the ceiling, and rammed a desk and chair against the wall, meaning that you could just barely squeeeeeze into the seat, then have the curtain pulled around you.  It was like playing hide and seek when you're drunk, wrapping the curtains around yourself and imagining nobody can see you. 

I wedged my fat arse in there, the teeny staff bustling past every two minutes, leaned over the PeripheroScope and obediently clicked a button every time I saw a light flash in my peripheral vision.  All was well, apparently, but it was disconcerting. 

They made me wear an eye patch.  I am convinced that the only reason for that was the comedy value.   

Then I had to move to another tiny curtained-off alcove and have photos taken of the insides of my eyes.  I assume this was to give to me on my way out, like the pictures they take when you ride the log flume at Alton Towers.

The titchy little optical expert faffed about with the machine, on which I had to rest my chin, with my forehead pressed against a padded bar.  It was exquisitely uncomfortable, not least because my spine was making the letter S as I did it.  I mentioned everything was designed for the Wee Folk in there?

Anyway, she fiddled with the settings, moving my chin up and down, apologising and getting more and more flustered.  After a few minutes she went to fetch a colleague. 

"I can't get a focus on the lady's eyeball," she said, perplexed.  Her colleage looked through the machine at me.

"Ah yes, you've got it pointed at her eyebrow," she said. 

Fuck's sake. 

I'm not an expert or anything, but even I know the difference between an eyeball (internal organ, gelatinous, moves around, you can see with it if you're lucky) and an eyebrow (collection of hair, sits on your brow, doesn't move around much*, no use for vision).

Anyway.  They took the pictures, and then I was allowed to extricate myself from the chair. 

"Look at that," said the lady who'd been admiring my eyebrows.  "Isn't that amazing?"

I looked up at the computer screen and saw two photos of the inside of my eyeballs.  They looked a lot like deep-space graphics sent back from a roving telescope.

"Mmm," I said, non-committally.  Well, you don't want to sound vain, do you?

The little optician stood there in rapt wonder for a few more moments, then came to help me choose some new glasses. 

I tried on many, many pairs.  Far too many.  The little elven optician folk kept bringing me more and more, offering them to me as if I was a volcano goddess who needed to be appeased.  It's like when I go shoe shopping.  I inevitably end up coming home with a pair of shoes very much like the ones I am wearing that day.  I was determined not to just get glasses that are the same as the ones I have now, but there isn't a lot of variety.  Small rectangular frames still seem to be very in.  I decided to get two pairs of normal specs, rather than one normal and one sunglasses, as I never wear the sunglasses and it is a waste.  I opted for a pair not entirely dissimilar to my current ones, and a slightly larger pair with a different frame shape.  I might wear them all at the same time, like Professor Branestawm.

Again, after I have looked at about 3 different pairs I lose the will to live and just make a decision to get myself away from there.  By the time I go to collect them I will have completely forgotten what I chose anyway, they could give me any old rubbish and I'd probably not be too bothered.  It'll be a nice surprise when I go to pick them up.

Other news:  I have been trying to get my head back around the day job, having had so many weeks off work with this bloody chest infection.  All I've been doing is reading emails, trying to keep track of what has happened since mid-December, and have a few phone conversations with my colleagues, and it is EXHAUSTING.  Gah.  I hope by Monday I will be feeling less like a pile of cold noodles, and have re-acquired the backbone and stamina to get to the office.

Oh, and the fish are still doing well.  We think some of the freshwater shrimp may have been devoured as we have recently only seen 2 of the 5 that we put in there, but then again, they might be hiding.  They do that, apparently. 

The male gourami is a buffoon, and keeps attacking the thermometer.  Every now and again he swims up to it, then swipes it with the side of his body, making it tap the side of the tank.  I assume he can see his reflection in it, and thinks it's another male gourami, after his harem of lovely lady gourami.  Fool. 

*Roger Moore excepted


A Brit in Tennessee said...

I recently underwent the same sort of eye exams for another new prescription. I laughed my frock off whilst reading about your experience, it was the identical thoughts I had about mine, minus the little people.
I came home with two new pairs of glasses, and still resort to wearing my old ones. Why is it they sell you on the idea, wear them for a month or two, your eyes will get used to them....bugger.
Great post !

Opticians Eye Test said...

Eye exams are not designed to supersede contact lenses or eyeglasses. This exam is designed to monitor on your vision. It's something that people normally overlook but it should be considered seriously by every individual who care about their vision.

Thanks for sharing..

Opticians Eye Test

livesbythewoods said...

ABIT - hello! Glad you liked it, thanks very much.

OptEyeTest, um, thanks. Why yes, you can stick an advertising link to your shop in my blog, feel free.

Next time you might want to try using proper English though, with grammar and so on. It might make people feel a bit more confident in your professional capabilities. Thanks for sharing.

Isabella Golightly said...

I care about their vision. Really.

Middle Sis said...

When my optician stated that I needed to have the inside of my eyeball photographed, I laughed. He was not impressed. I told him I would pay his £10 fee (it was a few years ago) because there is no point in having a new new toy if you can't play with it. I got the impression he wanted to say "well, I'm not going to do it now, because you're making fun of me and my equipment!". He did it, it looked like a rather pallid pizza.

Dan said...

I have to say, that first paragraph actually made me laugh out loud, and I don't normally do that, so thank you for that.

Having bad eyes myself, I feel your pain. Laser eye surgery matey, its the only way....

Optician said...

Nowadays contact lenses are comfortable for longer periods and can be worn all day. Some contact lens can even be slept in, that mean we don't have to worry about taking them out before we go to bed. I think it is important to visit genuine optician regularly.