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My annual eye exam didn’t go so well

By John Toth

The Bulletin

I dislike going to the optometrist each year because of the machine that shoots a puff of air onto the eyeball. It is a weird feeling, but a necessary one to keep this pair of eyes churning out The Bulletin.

I recently trekked over to my optometrist, who is nice and cheerful each time I see her. But she is not the one getting shot in the eye with a puff of air.

The task is assigned to a technician. The doctor then takes over and shines all kinds of lights into my dilated pupils. O.K. It’s not the worst feeling in the world. My annual physical has a worse one that I shall not detail right here.

I knew I was going to have problems when the tech kept calling me Mr. Tooth. Sharon, my wife and fellow eye patient that day, finally corrected her. “It’s pronounced ‘Toth’,” she remarked as politely as she could.

“I’m so sorry,” the tech said, and proceeded to call me there-on-end, “Mr. John.”

I wrote about this in an earlier column, how I have had problems with my first and last names while country hopping in my youth. It’s old hat to me, but Sharon, who has the same last name as me, had to chime in and correct her.

I thought that this was bad timing, since I was up first to be shot in the eyeballs. I was waiting to correct her after my turn was over.

She asked me to rest my chin on a small ledge in front of the machine. It looked different.

“Is this the eyeball shooter?” I asked. “Did you get a new one?”

“We ditched that machine. This one doesn’t shoot out air,” the tech replied.

That was a relief. Isn’t technology great? What will they think of next - a colonoscopy prep drink that doesn’t also make me throw up? We have come a long way.

The light in the machine came closer and closer to my left eye. When is it going to stop? It was right in front of my eyeball, and I jerked back. The tech was a little taken back. I was, too.

“You were not supposed to move or blink,” she said.

“I wasn’t going to, but this thing was coming straight into my eye,” I said.

“It’s supposed to until it touches your eyeball,” the tech explained.

Wait a minute. This lens is supposed to make contact with my eyeball? How is that better than getting shot in the eye?

I tried; I really did. But several times when the machine got close, I jerked back.

“I can’t help it. I know what it’s supposed to do now. It’s just a natural reaction,” I said.

The tech gave up and got another gizmo, since the touchy-feely machine was not going to work.

“Is this supposed to touch my eyeball also?” I asked.

The answer was a disappointing yes. I tried not to react, but the same thing happened. Right before this thing got ready to touch my eyeball, I jerked back.

I think I made her pretty mad by now, but she did not show it. Whatever this machine did, she could not just leave the box blank. She had to have a number, and I was not cooperating.

She came back with a third tool; this one was a hand-held one.

“This is the one we use on kids,” she said.

She used two fingers to pry my eyes open and proceeded again to try to get her reading. I don’t know what she did, but the gadget never touched my eyeball, and she got her number.

“Why didn’t she start with this,” I thought to myself.

“Since that one is usually used on kids, do I get a lollipop?” I joked. Sharon laughed. The tech pretended that she didn’t hear me. I’d bet that she had a stash of lollipops somewhere, but she didn’t want to give one up.

“I couldn’t eat it, anyway, unless it was sugar free,” I said. She smiled and walked out.

The optometrist just shined bright lights into my eyes and didn’t try to shoot or touch anything, so that part went well.

I’m happy to report after this torturous affair, dear reader, that my eyes, although, they have aged some over the decades, were cleared for many more years of computer action as I compose The Bulletin each week (except on fifth Tuesdays of the month, when my eyes usually explore the deep blue sea).

See you next week. I mean it.


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