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I went to the eye doctor last year, and determined that my glasses prescription was a little too strong. I hadn't been sufficiently aware of this for it to send me to the eye doctor. I went because I was seeing bugs that should not have been in my apartment, that should not have been on my PLANET. When I asked the doctor who prescribes my anti-seizure meds if perhaps my brain might be playing an unpleasant new kind of trick on me, he asked if the bugs tended to turn up in the same place, and where I was when I saw them. When it turned out that I was seeing them in different rooms, but always to my left, he sent me to an eye doctor. My eye playing tricks on me is very much less scary than my brain playing tricks on me. The eye doctor assured me that I was seeing a moving dark spot and just interpreting it as "bug," and that it would gradually get smaller and disappear. That's how it went, from Lovecraftian horrors to palmeto bugs to ladybugs (a few of which I could see with both eyes and even step on) to ants. And no bugs at all since the middle of December.

I've been getting less nearsighted as I age*, rather than the more common pattern of becoming both nearsighted and farsighted and needing bifocals (or transition lenses. Or two pair of glasses.) I know some people have a lot of trouble adjusting to bifocals or transition lenses, or are unable to do so at all, and I'm afraid I might be one of them. I have been really, really, bad at visual processing since I was very young and throwing up every time I tried to use a Viewmaster. This past eye exam included something I've never done before--I don't know if it's a standard thing for being over 40, or something this doctor does, or a recent part of the standard of care. After I looked at the eye chart across the room, with and without my glasses, the doctor gave me a laminated card with an eye chart on it, and told me to read the smallest line I could see clearly. "Where should I hold it?" "Wherever you like. Any place that's comfortable for you to read it." So I held it about 18-20" away and read a line with my glasses, and she asked me to read the next line but it was too blurry. And I took my glasses off, and had to move it closer because I couldn't see the text...but she'd said that was ok. At about 8-10" from my face, it popped into focus. Even the small text I couldn't read with my glasses popped into focus. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, and I wouldn't have thought to do the experiment. 8-10" is a great distance for reading a paperback in bed, in case you were wondering. The eye doctor wrote me a prescription for new glasses, and advised me to take them off for reading fine print or doing close work. And she warned me that I am likely to need bifocals or transition lenses in a few years, but that they are likely to be problematic for my migraines and motion sickness so I should put them off as long as I can.

I remember when my glasses were -8.00 and -7.50, and I had to argue with the opthamologist who couldn't believe a 10% change was significant enough to cause eyestrain. (I suppose one might not notice a 10% change in a 1 or 2 diopter correction.) That transition was really brutal, partly because I was working a full-time job with a fair amount of physical danger, and my migraines were completely out of control. Now I'm going from -5.50 to -5.00 and -4.75, with more astigmatism correction. It should be a piece of cake. Furthermore, I'm home, and can handle the adjustment period in relative safety. I think it also helps that I have more faith in the ophthalmologist. Anxiously second-guessing whether the new glasses are really a good idea makes it harder to persist through the headaches and double vision and motion sickness. This is going to be easy. Right. Easy. I am still going to go lie down for a bit.

*Note to the opthamologist in Winter Hill: this is unusual. It is not unheard of.
Note to the optometrist in Porter Square: this is unusual. It is not freakish.
Note to the medical professionals of the world: if our bodies worked perfectly well, we would not be consulting you nearly so often. Please be respectful of the ways in which bodies work differently or fail to work. It is your job to know this stuff, for crying out loud.


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March 2016



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