I have to get my eyes checked yearly if I want to continue wearing contact lenses. I am not a responsible caretaker of my ojos. When I remove the last pair of contacts from the box, I make an appointment with an eye doctor. First available and cheap like restaurant seating when I’m starving and broke. Without vision insurance, I generally price shop since the cash price ranges from $75-$150. Appointments at those $75 eye doctors go fast so I check the bank account and make the appointment for the week when the house payment isn’t due.
My lens prescription hasn’t changed in 7-8 years so my visit to the eye doctor consists of a quick glance at my eyes (Better 1. Or 2. Better 2. Or 3) and a couple of questions (What is your current prescription? Are you happy with it?). After giving the doctor the right answers, I get a prescription.
There have been exceptions. Six or seven years ago, I went to a young and cheap doctor who insisted that I have my eyes dilated. She determined that I had anomalies and made an appointment with an ophthalmologist. I spent the weeks between appointments pricing braille lessons and wondering which of our dogs was trainable for guide service.
After 6 hours of tests and a few hundred bucks, the specialist determined that my anomalies are normal for me. My eyes and I are fine as long as we have some kind of corrective lenses. When I went back to my young and cheap doctor the next year, I found that she had moved out-of-town. So, I continued my price shopping optometrist ways.
Last year, my new cheap and young doctor proclaimed that I have anomalies and I told him they were a-normalies for me. He didn’t laugh and added that I have an enlarged optic nerve and cataracts starting. He suggested that I come back in 6 months to see if I need a referral to an ophthalmologist. I responded by ignoring calls from his office after 6 months.
The thought that I might have something really, really wrong drove me to Dr. Google to check enlarged optic nerve. I don’t want to alarm anyone who might have one, but the possibilities are dire. Brain tumor and MS were a couple of the causes that kept me awake. I didn’t want to say anything to Bob because I knew he’d be faced with a blind, dying wife soon enough.
My best friend’s husband is an optometrist. I really like the guy. Despite being opposite me on the political spectrum, he cares about things that I care about: the environment, right to privacy, my best friend. He feels the same way I do about big chain stores that move into small towns like ours, crush small business, and then shut down, leaving an empty building and no alternative except driving to the next large town.
Knowing how precise he is tying fly-fishing flies, I was certain he’d be a meticulous doctor. There are several reasons why I’ve never gone to see him for an eye appointment. Because his practice is a couple of decades old and he has a loyal following, he’s booked well in advance of my 8-10 day window. Also, I am not a good patient. I follow doctor’s orders like they are well intended suggestions. I wonder when they say “Take all the medicine in this bottle,” if they really mean “Take all the medicine in this bottle.”
Because of my impending blindness, I thought going to a real grown up doctor would be best. I made an appointment with my BF’s husband. Before yesterday, I’d never been checked for color blindness and depth perception or screened for macular degeneration. It turns out that my lack of depth perception is not due to Alzheimer’s disease which I had attributed to it, but to my contact lens prescription. (Didn’t anyone tell you that mono vision reduces depth perception?) Not in the last 10 years or so.
He mentioned the enlarged optic nerve in passing. I checked his knowledge of optic nerves by asking what causes that. He knew more than Dr. Google.
I have a new prescription and a new eye doctor.