Two Layers

I went to the eye doctor today. First, an aside:

That I went to an eye doctor in itself is probably a rather novel comment for a Taiwanese resident, since most people simply go to where they want to buy glasses and then the optical store will do a quick and easy eye exam for them, included.

Now, I don't know about you, but I have a thing against "mall doctors" -- those physicians who are somehow very closely related to retail establishments -- I like the idea that my optometrist is a separate entity from the eyecare professional who will be fitting my glasses for me. I like to know that each of them is not distracted by ulterior motives, such as performing a sub-par eye exam as long as they can sell me a pair of spectacles.

So I looked around for a hospital/clinic who would do the eye exam for me. And today, I went.

I went into the big hospital, filled in my patient record form (which asks alarmingly little about someone they're about to give medical advice to), and waited for my 11:50am appointment.

There was some big confusion about why I was there, which started with their first pointed question:
"What's wrong with your eyes? Are they uncomfortable?"
"Uh ... no, nothing. I want an eye check-up."
"So what's wrong with them?"
"Nothing, I haven't had an eye exam for some time, and I would like to buy glasses now."
"Oh, okay."

They led me into a series of rooms -- which, if you've ever been in a Taiwanese hospital before, all look like evil experiments could have been conducted in them some decades ago and have been scrubbed clean of evidence -- to do the standard tests. I did the "stare at the picture which they adjust to be clear with a machine" thing, the "puffs of air in your eye until you're visibly crying" check, "keep your eye wide open as we shine blinding light" activity, and the "randomly guess which way the E is pointing "game.

I basically paid $650NT ($20 USD) for them to do things to my eyes, talk to me like I'm an idiot, order me around ("sit and wait", "stand up", "wear this") ... and tell me my prescription strength is pretty much exactly what it was 4.5 years ago. I took my prescription sheet and ran.

On the way back to the office, I caved: I ate a bacon double cheeseburger. I figured my eyes deserved it, but I asked for only one slice of cheese -- you know, because that second slice would just be too many calories.


James said...

At least they didn't put drops in your eyes so you can't focus or read. My head would start hurting because I couldn't stare at anything for very long. And my prescription changes every year. I guess I'm just unlucky that way.

Ben said...

Whoa, what's THAT test do??

My eyes are pretty stable now, probably because the amount of time I spend in front of the computer is more or less stable too: all the time.

James P said...

It dialates your pupils. Not exactly sure why they do that, but it has the effect of being ultra sensitive to light, and lose the ability to focus. Luckily it wears off in a couple of hours. Not too pleasant, but definitely more enjoyable than a prostate exam.

Nk said...

It relaxes your pupils (the muscles that make them contract) so that the optometrist can get a better look at your retina and the inner walls of your eye (nearer the front, since the angle is more difficult to negotiate). Consequently, this is how your vision will be at age 55, when your eye muscles start losing their strength.

Ben said...

Huh. I think I'll add eye exercises to my regular weekly gym workout.

Kevin said...

I think you can just hold your eyes open with your two thumbs and index fingers. That should give them a good enough look.

"Big Mahc, large fries...."
(if you follow)