Blinded By the Light

I had to go to the eye doctor last week.

My old one retired and I had been putting it off, but I decided to be an adult and go get a check-up, if only to see if they offered new lenses that could filter out everyone’s Instagram selfies or give me that sexy librarian look.

No and no, by the way.

Anyway, what they tell you:

Bring along the paperwork with your contact information, (lack of) vision insurance data and any family history of glaucoma, cataracts or having their eyes poked out with a sharp stick back in the 50s—or something extensively similar along those lines.

What they don’t tell you:

Everyone who works in the office will wear glasses. I don’t know if they’re unaware that contacts exist or if they only hire people with eye issues as to appear sympathetic to patients, but even the fish in the tank will have little sea spectacles so as to better see the algae they’re gumming.

Unlike other doctor visits, it is not—I repeat NOT—necessary to strip down to your underwear in the exam room while waiting for the doctor to see you. Good to know for next time.

The doctor will attempt—and temporarily succeed—to turn you into a demented X-Men/vampire character.

I wasn’t aware that was part of the deal, but after the exam he tilted my head back, put in two different kinds of drops, gave me a tissue and told me he would be back in 10 minutes once my eyes dilated.

I returned my head to the upright position and had the strange sensation of my eyes leaking — I think sensitive people call this “crying”— and I wiped away artificially-dyed yellow tears.

I sat there waiting with burning and blurring eyes until he came back, jammed a flashlight into my face and declared me in good optical health. In fact, I didn’t even need to get new glasses.

At this point in the darkened room I had no idea I was in the middle of a mutant transformation. He warned me that the light would be bright walking out, and I resisted the urge to ask him if water in the sink would be wet. It seemed like an obvious statement. Light is bright. Thanks for the tip, there buddy!

Until I walked into the wall.

Once the door was opened and I was thrust into the light, I felt like a vampire pulled from my cave. I bounced off the wall like a ping-pong ball as he gently guided my arm to the desk where I paid for the bruise on my head and the yellow tears in my eyes.

I stumbled to the car, quickly slipped on my sunglasses and let my eyes adjust for a bit before driving. And I waited—at least a good two or three minutes—and then took a look at myself in the mirror.


Not only was my one coat of mascara washed off, but I had become a creature with yellow corneas, dilated pupils so large only a tiny strip of green iris was left and the vision of Mr. Magoo. Great for Halloween, not so much for doing things like being seen in public or seeing anything in general.

I realized I could see far away but not up close, so I quickly slipped my sunglasses back on (out of necessity) and made my way to the gas station where my lack of clear vision up close resulted in spending an extra $10 just trying to get the pump to end on an even amount.

Once I finally arrived back home and determined it was not in fact a giant rat in my kitchen but the cat—a cat that took one look at my eyes and went running away—I shut all the blinds, slipped on my sunglasses and stumbled onto the couch.

Now I’m not saying I needed Wolverine’s claws—I’m clumsy with a butter knife—but I did kind of want a new power to go with my dilated pupils. Heck, I would have settled for eyelashes that didn’t get stuck in my eye.

Way to do your job and keep crap out of my eye, eyelashes!

But I guess I’ll settle for the return of “normal” eyes, the ability to go out in the sun and a Halloween costume idea–a vegan vampire. 

Works for me.

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20 responses to “Blinded By the Light

  1. Ahhh I HATE going to the eye doctor! But I need to all the time because I have terrible vision. It just ain’t fair.

  2. I’ve had drops in my eyes to dilate my pupils before – I have diabetes so I have to have a retinal screening once a year.

    It’s a bit late to be mentioning this but I am usually advised not to drive for at least 6 hours after having my pupils dilated – my heart was in my mouth when you said you got in to your car!

    Glad you made it home ok.

  3. Ha! This made me laugh because I have had to have those stupid drops in my eye over 10 times since February!! It’s a nightmare when you walk outside and feel like a vampire. I find wearing glasses outside hard enough because of the reflection, let alone adding those drops.

    The first time I had to walk down the street holding on to the wall and praying I would make it to the tube station in one piece. What’s even funnier is that there is a set of traffic lights outside of the eye hospital (most famous eye hospital in the world, might I add) that don’t have a pedestrian crossing. So you have to run across three lanes of traffic, blind! Great town planning, London.

    • You, my friend, have been through just about every horrific eye experience ever. I’m just making light of a visit, but you could write a book!

  4. I would go to the doctor, but I’m positive I need bifocals. And I’m not ready to look like Sarah Palin. Ever.

  5. This post had my eyes tearing up out of sympathy for the whole thing. Tough to read that way, but I managed! 🙂

    I’ve always refused the dilation until the last visit when the doctor talked me into it. I really, really hated it. My eyes were sensitive to light for the rest of the day and everything was blurry. I found it very unsettling. Next time I’m not doing it. Just too unpleasant.

  6. This made me laugh because I desperately need to see the eye doctor and I’ve been avoiding it because I hate the dilation!

    And as for not having to strip down, I have a funny for you. My aunt Rita (who has double D boobs) had to get her tonsils out when she was in college. After the whole mess was done, so told my mom, how come they give you so many breast exams in the hospital for a tonsillectomy? The horny residents were coming in and giving her feel-ups!

  7. I think you’d be a bad ass with an eye patch

    also, sorry about the Tigers. Good God I thought Torii Hunter killed himself.

  8. wow, that was one hell of an eye appointment. I would have been very worried about driving

  9. I feel for you. I really really do. I’m convinced the Opthamology(sp?) movement has already discovered an easier and more effective way to check for vision but they are purposefully not employing it because they are too busy having a laugh at our expense as we sloppily negotiate our way with our yellow dilated pupils.

  10. I think dilating your pupils should come with a warning label. It’s something you should be made aware of so you can prepare for it.
    I remember the first time I had it done, like it was yesterday. Of course, I had company coming for dinner that night so my quick stop at the grocery store on the way home, just to find a few simple ingredients turned into a fiasco. I made an absolute spectacle of myself stumbling around and trying to read labels. I had to switch grocery stores. So yes eye dilation needs to come with a warning label.

  11. “Everyone who works in the office will wear glasses”—I’ve always wondered about this. Do they know something I don’t? If I wear my contacts for too long, will I suddenly go blind?

  12. Did they do that thing where they blow a puff of air into your eye?? I always jump ten feet in the air and nearly poke my eye out with their machine that is practically inside my eye ready to puff away! Also, I am not entirely convinced that the glasses-wearing staff are legit. Maybe they make the people who apply agree to wear them as accessories!? This might be one big Eye Doctor conspiracy!!

  13. I hate getting my eyes dialated! But I am weird because I enjoy the puff of air thing in my eyes. I have really itchy eyes due to allergies, and the puff of air actually feels kind of good! I have also been known to use an eye cup to pour freezing cold Britta water into my eyes to stop the itching!

  14. Oh man! I hate when I have to get my eyes checked & dilated – I am totally blinded afterwards, which is why I make someone else drive me!

  15. sounds awful and all of that just to be told you’re fine. not that you want to have worse eyes, but almost seems like some of it isn’t necessary, like the doc gets a mini-thrill out of the whole process. hilarious to read about though 🙂

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