The optomitrist had me squint into the machine, peering at letters with my right eye.

"Better or worse?" You know the drill. Soon he had it figured as to how to correct my glasses to give me the best possible view on the world from that angle and had me line up what I thought was my "good" eye for testing. Why did I think this was my good eye? Well, true, I couldn't see anything but a blur out of the eye when I was wearing my glasses but it seemed that I saw better out of that eye without them. For the last six months I've been choosing which eye to use depending on whether or not I had glasses on or not. I could see out of the right eye with glasses on, and out of the left one with them off. So I thought, anyway.

"Better, or worse?" the question came again. I squinted into the viewer with my left eye but all I could see was a bright yellow blur--no letters at all.

"I can't see any letters," I reported incredulously.

"Try this." I could see letters but now there were LOTS of letters. They were ALL double. "Is this better?"

"Uh, no."

"This?"

"No." Finally I was able to say "I still see double but it's just a little double. What's WRONG with me?"

"Cataracts. Both eyes. Worse in your left."

You could have knocked me over with a feather and planted me face down in the umbrella stand. Memories of very old people I have known, their eyes clouded with a milky white film, rendered me speechless. I'm only 58.

"It's very common, " the doctor continued, "and you don't need surgery yet. The surgery is WONDERFUL! Hardly anyone ever has complications."

I would have asked him what he meant by that but I still couldn't talk. Twenty four hours later I still can't get over the fact that it is the vision in my "good" eye that sucks. Usually when something bad is going to happen to me, I can see it coming. The only good part of it is that I was too numb to resent the $400 I spent for new glasses--AFTER my $130 discounts. I hope I like them when I get them next week. It's a little hard to choose frames when your eyes are dilated.

Life goes on.

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