Friday, February 08, 2008
The Eyes Have It
When I was diagnosed with diabetes, my doctor recommended an annual eye exam, with one to take place immediately for baseline information. One of the many possible problems with diabetes is blindness. Something in the blood sugar affects the optic nerve and thins the blood vessels in the eye so that they can rupture, get blocked, or leak. So regular eye exams are recommended and my doctor is nothing if not thorough.
Having never done this before, it was with some trepidation that I entered the eye doctor's clinic. I really wasn't sure what to expect, but had heard stories about dialation, light sensitivity and other odd procedures that sounded scary. A technician took me to a back room where there were three machines sitting on a table.
I sat down at the first one and looked inside a box at a little sailboat. The sailboat got sharp, then fuzzy, then looked like it was struck by lightning. I think the machine measured the contraction and expansion of my eye muscles as I looked at that poor boat.
Then we moved to the next machine, which had four lights that lit up. I had to tell her which light was a different color from the other three. We went through several different patterns - I'm not color blind, despite what my clothing might say about me.
I stayed right where I was for the next test, which had a 3D frame with a picture of a deer on one side and rows of numbers in circles on the other side. For each line, I had to pick out the one that looked 3D. I missed the last row -none of them looked 3D to me.
The last machine had a place for me to rest my chin, and look straight into a box with a little hole in it. I looked at the hole and air puffed into my eye. How odd! Of course, I jumped each time but apparently managed to stay still with my eye open long enough for her to get whatever it was she got out of it.
Afterwards, we went to the other side of the room for a retinal scan of both eyes. Very Star Trek!!! I put my eye up to this machine and there's a flash of green light and the camera takes a picture of the back of my eye. The right eye was easy, but it took us three times to get the left eye, which apparently likes to blink when that light goes off. You know those flash pictures where someone looks drunk and has one eye closed? Yeah - that's me.
The technician took me to another room to wait for the doctor, and had me read a projected eye chart before she left. Then Dr. H came in and we did the eye chart thing again. He asked me to read the smallest line I could read - which was the last one. On the left eye, I missed the last number (I said "8" and it was "2") and I got them all with the right eye. Then we tried it again with a couple of lenses in front of me and I got them all right with both eyes.
My eye doctor is jealous. I have perfect distance vision. And my up close vision isn't bad either for someone my age. At this point there is no need for prescription glasses, I can use the readers for as long as I want to. I did get to look at my retinal scan. "Beautiful" optic nerve, strong blood vessels, good structure - no damage whatsoever.
Looks like my eyes are my best part.