There’s something about going to see an eye doctor that always feels me with dread. It’s not that I’ve ever had a bad experience with one, mind you. Still, I manage to build it up pretty much every time. There’s something about having someone peer into your head at things you can’t see. What might they find in there lurking unknown?
Although I’ve worn glasses since third grade, the seeds for my anxiety were laid a little further in the past. Near the end of my grandmother’s life, she started seeing a spot that she thought was a problem with her glasses. I remember going with her and my Mom to have her vision checked. I guess that was my first experience with an eye doctor. And I remember her anxiety. What I somehow didn’t know then was why they made her anxious. She had lost one of her eyes early in life to glaucoma. All I can say is it’s amazing how realistic a glass eye can be as I never knew. But as an adult, it’s easy to understand why that trauma would stick with her.
The result of the exam was the discovery of a cataract. Although little, I was there when the doctor told my mother the diagnosis. Cataract surgery, by the way, has come a long way in a matter of decades. The first people I knew who had it were pretty much incapacitated. Now it seems practically routine? But at that point in time, cataract surgery was a pretty rough experience. Even today in her frail health, I’m not sure they would have operated, but then they didn’t entertain the idea at all.
My Mom made the decision at the time to hang onto that information for awhile rather than share it with her mother. My grandmother got new glasses that helped and didn’t know about the cataract. She lived only a matter of months as it turned out and I think it was a great kindness that she didn’t spend those months worrying about the unknown.
It was actually her death that ushered in the next episode in the story. The same day she passed, one of my uncles had a sudden partial retinal detachment while driving to work. He had to have emergency surgery to repair the vision in that eye. The story of why my aunt and uncle were unable to be at the funeral made an impression on me at that early age. Imagine just driving along to work and pop, the lights go out in one eye! The stuff upon which nightmares are founded!
So, those are the foundations upon which I’ve managed to build dread with every eye exam. And it was well past time to have a check-up. Believe me, I have chastised myself enough on that point, but it’s a combination of time getting away from me and really not wanting to do it. Sigh! Horrible excuses, I know!
So, I arrived at a point where I could tell my prescription was definitely off again. Only a couple of times in my years of wearing glasses has an eye exam not meant a new prescription. It’s almost as certain as the seasons. I scheduled an appointment and then began to build up the worry over the course of waiting! So much so, I barely slept last night!
The good news is that for the first time ever, my near sightedness has improved every so slightly! Which does nothing for the worsening astigmatism, but oh well!
Now who can guess the rest of my good news? Sigh, yes, progressive lenses enter the picture at last. Oh well, I really did think I was going to get them last time, so I had time to adjust to the idea. Besides, after all the horrible imaginings that haunted my past few days, really I can think of worse things!
Is that my version of a silver lining?
It certainly wasn’t the cost of those new eye lenses to correct my litany of issues! Ack!
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