Friday, November 13, 2009

So that's what I've been missing out on all these years

As part of normal preventive care for my diabetes, yesterday I left work a little early and headed out to visit an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) for an eye exam. One of the more crappy potential complications of diabetes is something called diabetic retinopathy where damage to tiny blood vessels in the back of your eye can result in you going blind. So yeah, hoping to avoid that. And good news, because my most recent hemoglobin A1c scores came back looking pretty good (5.8, same as 6 months ago).

Anyway, I think it's been since elementary school, or maybe my pre-mission physical, since the last time I had to look into the box and read a line of letters, and even though I don't have any complaints with my vision, I was still a little nervous that they'd tell me I needed glasses or something. Thankfully, I'm happy to report that I'm still sitting at (around) 20/20. I would have to guess that I probably missed one or two letters off that tiny bottom line, but apparently not enough to lower my score below normal.

In addition to reading small letters, I also got to prove that I'm not colorblind by reading the colored number inside the differently colored circle. Then there was a machine that showed me a red balloon first in focus, and then it blurry, which apparently checked something in my eyes somehow. Also, I finally got to do the "Which one is better? Number 3? or Number 4?" test I've always heard about. Most of the time it was clear which was better but there were a couple tricky ones in the mix.

Finally, after all that preliminary stuff, I finally got to the big show where I got to actually meet the ophthalmologist. All the previous stuff was done by an assistant of some sort. He explained that a technician would be in shortly to anesthetize my eyes and check the pressure in them, and then would put stuff in them to dilate them. Then he left and a lady came in and did just that. Then the doctor came back and looked deep into my eyes. Literally. With a magnifying glass and everything. It really didn't take that long and at the end he gave me a clean bill of optic health and told me I was lucky I didn't have to study for a big test that night.

Why did he say that? Because as part of having your eyes dilated, suddenly everything up close is out of focus. I was pre-warned that for several hours afterward I wouldn't be able to read things up close, so I was somewhat prepared for the results, but not for the weirdness of it all. It felt like when you just open your eyes, or come out of a dark room into a bright room and things are kind of blurry for a second until your eyes adjust. Except for four hours. Everything distant looked pretty normal, but then trying to read anything up close, and it was just a blur. Also, I felt like Mr. Anime with the gigantic size of my pupils.

Driving home was no problem, but when I got there, I wondered what I was going to do that didn't require reading anything for the next 4 hours or so. I had some laundry to finish up, so I got the dryer going and then went up to my room to fold stuff that was already done.

While there, I stopped to look at my computer. I could tell from a desktop icon that I had some new emails and was able to open up Gmail and see I had about 7 unread messages, but couldn't actually read anything. I tried leaning way back, or just using one eye, all to no avail. I could see shapes and stuff, but couldn't read any text. This must be what all of you people with glasses feel like all the time. Sorry.

Eventually, I was able to navigate to and get an episode of "The Ruins" going (it's a long story full of ingenuity but probably still too boring to tell here), that I could see pretty well from back on my bed where I was folding laundry. I also took Homey (one of our dogs) for a walk, and everything looked so pretty with the impressive prismatic halos around all the car headlights and most of the lights on houses.

After the walk, I remembered that Ctrl+ (Ctrl + +?) makes text in your browser window bigger, so I went back to Gmail and Ctrl+'ed that thing until it was sufficiently ginormous that I could actually read my email. Accessibility options FTW!

By 8:30 or so, things were pretty much back to normal which was nice. But it was definitely an interesting experience to realize how much I take my vision and literacy for granted.

1 comment:

Liz said...

A fun read! Sounds like you have some compassion for your mother who has had to wear glasses since she was 20. So far no one in the family has inherited that. Glad to hear you have a clean optic bill of health.