Monday, November 22, 2010

I'm Like The Bionic Woman's Twin. Except Not Really.

I have a bionic eye. Okay, not really. But that's what my beloved calls it. You see, five or six years ago, I had a lens replacement in my right eye because of a cataract.

Now, I have no idea what caused me, in my mid-thirties, to get a cataract. It's something my ophthalmologist and optometrist have spent much of their time quizzing me about:

Doctors: Did you ever have a head injury?
Me: Does being whaled on by your older brothers in childhood count?
Doctors: Not unless you were hospitalized.
Me: Um, then no.
Doctors: Were you ever hit in the eye?
Me: Like hit with....what exactly?
Doctors: A hard ball or another very hard object.
Me: Would I have been hit so hard that I can't remember being hit? 'Cause maybe that's what happened and now I have amnesia about the incident.
Doctors: ......(crickets chirping).....
Me:, no.
Doctors: You know you're very young to have a cataract. This is unusual, but not unheard of.
Me: Could you please call my mother so that she will be convinced? Also, do you expect me to break a hip anytime soon?

The gist of it is, that I lived with my cataract until I couldn't any more, at which time I underwent lens replacement. Then, for several weeks afterward, I was the only person south of 60 to be in the ophthalmologist's waiting room and roaming the streets wearing those oh-so-cool big black sunglasses that old people wear after they've had cataract surgery. And, because of the shape of the surface of my left eye, I was not a candidate for Lasik. I was, however, a candidate for something called--and I swear to you this is the name--Phakik (pronounced fake-ick). But, since it wasn't covered by insurance and also, not inconsequentially, because it was named Phakik, we opted not to have this procedure done on my left eye. Seriously, Eye Procedure Marketing Guys? You might want to rethink the naming of that one.

The upshot is, that for several years, I've had very good vision in my right eye, requiring no vision correction and I've had very poor vision in my left eye, requiring very corrected vision, meaning that I only wear one contact. It also means that I haven't worn eyeglasses in lots of years because yo, that's one crazy prescription--Coke bottle thick on one side and virtually nothing on the other. Having no eyeglasses makes for some interesting happenings in the middle of the night when I'm no longer wearing my left contact. I walk around with my left eye squinched shut trying not to fall over from my lack of depth perception. Again I must say: My beloved? So. Lucky. Me so sexy.

The replacement lens in my right eye has excellent mid-range vision and pretty fair distance vision, but my up close vision in my right eye is not so great. Meanwhile, the mid-range and distance in my left eye is rotten but my up close vision is great. My poor optic nerves. They are so confused. I use my right eye for most distance and my left eye for up close vision. I am continually closing one eye to see. It looks like I have a tic or that I am big on winking.

Recently, I noticed a change in the distance vision of my bionic eye. I hadn't been to the eye doctor in several years and knew that it was time to get a new contact (read: I used the last one in my box and it was getting old) and figured that I would probably need some distance correction in my bionic eye. This was not surprising. The ophthalmologist told me that this might happen, although some people are lucky enough to never need their vision corrected again, except for reading glasses. (Damn you, up close vision!) And so it was that I made myself an appointment to have my vision tested and to be fitted for contacts and eyeglasses.

So last Wednesday, I sat myself down in the hotseat chair to have my vision tested. I prepared myself for a whole lot of "which is better, 1 or 2?" confusion only to be pleasantly surprised that my choices were pretty easy. I'm not sure if this is because my vision is so changed or so unchanged, but I was grateful not to have to say "um...I'm not sure" more than one time. It's so much pressure! It always feels like a test. Am I the only one anxious that I'm going to get the answer wrong?

I am? Oh. Okay then.

It turned out that the contacts that the doctor wanted to fit me with that came in my prescription were ones that they didn't have on hand. The doctor said they would have to be ordered. Fine, I said. Order them. The doctor could give me a sample in her second lens choice that would fit my vision but wouldn't correct for my astigmatism. Fine. Gimme. It's better than nothing and free is free, right? It would only be a week until my prescription contacts came in. In the meantime, I could pick out a lovely pair of glasses and they would be ready in an hour and they would be my prescription. Fabulous, right?

And this is where I would love to say "right" in answer to my own question. But, it turns out that my very stylish, smart-looking glasses aren't exactly right. Only I didn't know that right away. I also didn't know that I would be relying on them so much since it turns out that the freebie contacts make me crazy. You see, the fact that they don't correct my astigmatism means that while I can, indeed, see that big Mack truck coming my way, it also means that the big Mack truck--and everydamnthing else is BLURRY. And since I haven't worn a contact lens on my right eye for half a decade, well, when I put it in, my right eyeball was all What the WHAT? WHAT IS THAT THING ON ME? THERE'S SOMETHING ON ME! GET! IT! OFF! What I'm saying is it's taking a little getting used to. So I've been relying on my eyeglasses more than I thought I would.

I mean, my glasses are stylish and smart-looking and I kinda channel Tina Fey when I'm wearing them, but oops, I can't really see out of them either. I'm not entirely sure, but I don't think they've corrected for the astigmatism in them either.

So now I'm back to where I was before I went to the eye doctor. I'm wearing these glasses, but I'm relying on my right eye for distance and my left eye for up close vision. Except now my right eye is pissed because I'm sticking a lens on it for a good part of the day. Lovely. And for this privilege I got to lay out several hundred dollars. Sweet.

Looks like I'll be heading back to the eye doctor to see if they can fix my glasses. The answer had better be yes.

Or I might have to let my right eye do all the talking.

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