Saturday, October 8, 2011

now look here

After three years with the same specs, and having a new job where I stare at a pc screen all day [as opposed to staring at my own pc screen all day], I decided to trot along for an eye check. Then I changed my mind and instead of trotting, I hopped into my car before dropping in to my local optometrist’s shop.

Even if my eyesight had not deteriorated, I decided, a new pair of specs could be justified. No, I don’t want to do an Elton John and have a different pair to match each outfit – though this wouldn’t be expensive as I only have one outfit and that is ‘gr frumpy’. 

What was really causing a problem is that I have developed a naughty habit of slipping my reading glasses up onto the top of my head so I wouldn’t lose them while not looking through them. Doing this has stretched the frame so much that every time I look down the rotten things hit the deck.
As a consequence of this I had taken to slipping them into my hand bag and as a consequence of this one lens was scratched by my car keys. It also meant that I was doing uglifying things like squinting as I pointed to coffee cup size at starbucks and saying 'one of those please' instead of just asking for a tall.

One alternative to the frame stretching thing is the chain around the neck thing which I just can’t bring myself to do. The chain would just get caught up in my flash new security key/prison photo government issued lanyard, anyway – said lanyard already managing to get caught in everything else until I shortened it with a cuppla nots.
Another alternative is bifocals. Tried that and found it great when driving, because I could actually see both the road and the speed at which I was travelling. Unfortunately, they are hard on the neck if browsing in bookshops. Worse yet, because reading through the bottom of the lens requires some lowering of the eyelids, I couldn’t stay awake while trying to read with them on.

Anyways, the good thing about using the same optometrist is that someone is recording measurements from test to test, providing a baseline for comparison. A glaucoma test is a standard part of the service but, in my case, a good idea because my father had glaucoma. There is no absolute quantum of eyeball pressure that can be used to diagnose glork, but Paul was able to tell me there had been a relative and slightly worrying increase since my last test.

All of this made me a bit weepy, and not just because sight is the sense I would most hate to lose.
I never met my father until into my late 40s, and then only for a day, and only two or three times. About ten years ago he and his wife came to stay with me for five days and I finally got a chance to get to know him a little. He’d lived for a very long time in the Philippines, and this would be his last trip to Oz.

He'd been a member of the occupation forces in Japan just after WWII, and I was chuffed that he'd brought some of his many photo albums with him on his visit. I knew he had glaucoma but hadn’t realised how bad it was until he started showing me his photos. It seemed, quite honestly, that he really couldn’t see them and was simply reciting details in a practised sequence, the way a child can memorise a bed time story and seem to read along when they really can’t read yet.

So now I’m about to get some new specs which, hopefully, won’t fall off all the time, and then I’m off to see an ophthalmologist. All of which is to say, if you don’t know your full, family medical history – or even if you do – think about occasionally getting glaucoma tests from the same place, at least two years in a row. Apparently the only way to diagnose glork is after your eyesight is irreversibly damaged, but with a timely warning about eyeball pressure the damage can be prevented.


  1. It's sad this condition affects so many people unnecessarily - all for the sake of a simple, painless test! After developing an eye condition, I'm paranoid about losing it - take my legs, my sense of smell, almost anything but my sight!

  2. Hi Red,
    can't argue with your sensory priorities. Hope your own eye condition is under control - I wouldn't trust anyone who sez paranoia is all in your mind.

  3. I'm with you there. Sight would be the worst for me to lose. And I'm with Red Nomad OZ too. I'd rather lose my legs than my sight.

    I hope your eyes end up being okay.

  4. Hi Dina,
    I'm sure everything will be fine, because I've had the tests regularly, but thanks. I believe the standard approach is some sort of eyedrop medication.