so i went in to what i expected to be a routine eye exam before my albertsons’ insurance was up to get some glasses. i knew i needed them or at least that something was up. driving at night sucked, i have a hard time reading subtitles, and things are, in general, blurry around the edges. so i schedule an appt. at the local lens crafters. i go in the initial pre-screening and i tell them my last exam was probably 4 years ago and i left with a prescription that was +0.50 and barely did anything, so i never really wore the glasses i got out of that. the first thing the tech said was “yeah, it’s changed since then.” a bit foreboding but i figured as much. then he mutters something about astigmatism. i ask about it later and he said i had astigmatism and explained what it was to me, and said “and you’re only a little myopic.” been in the place 15 minutes and already i’ve got 2 conditions. okay, fine, no problem, i knew i needed glasses.
the doc was busy with another patient so i waited around for a while. he finally saw me and we did the whole “1 or 2” deal. he was patient and understood when i said there wasn’t a difference really on the occasions that happened. at the end, he assembled the prescription on the crazy test glasses contraption thing and i couldn’t see at all. i saw better without the prescription than i did with it. so he did the whole routine again, with the exact same results. so then he twiddled with the glasses contraption a bit to try to make it workable but it never was totally clear. so i’m thinking, well good. i knew something was up and this guy can see that and i’ll leave here with a prescription that will actually work. which is about the time he asks if i have ever been diagnosed with Keratoconus, and that he suspects i have it. and that my left eye is shot to hell.
keratoconus is, apparently, a disease, hereditary, he said it seems more prevalent in males but the wiki says the opposite. the wiki also says no one knows where it comes from and that it’s highly variable. he said that going through the test the way we did and then putting that prescription on and it not working was symptomatic of keratoconus. i also noticed as we were going through it that when i was looking at the letters i saw a sort of shadow or ghost image of the letters underneath where the actual letters were. it was sort of a toss up whether i chose the lens that cut the shadow out or the one that made the letters clearer. i didn’t realize it at the time until going to the wiki, but that’s a major symptom. i always thought that’s what it was like for everyone, but erin says it’s weird. there’s a graphically reproduced simulation of what it looks like on the wiki, i’ve made my own to try to simulate how i see:
sometimes i see one ghost, sometimes two, sometimes — depending on how much i look at it — it’s like a mirror image, sometimes it’s blurry, but like normal astigmatism, i also get sort of double image stuff going on anyway. and what i do see isn’t very clear. so that’s fun.
he starts talking about “hard lenses”, you can get these hard lenses and most people will see 20/20 with them. “what do you mean, hard lenses…like contacts?” “yeah.” i’m totally freaked out by contacts. i’m totally freaked out by anything on my eyeball, in fact, i’m totally freaked out about eyeballs. contacts has always been a deep seated fear i’ve harbored for a long time. and him saying they may feel uncomfortable isn’t helping. “this isn’t something that can be corrected by glasses at all?” i say, sounding stupid (and possibly desperate). “no.”
he asks if i have allergies, and i said no, and he explained that he asks because sometimes people with allergies or construction workers who are outside all day will get it from rubbing their eyes a lot and really digging in when they do it and that that can damage the eye. which i do, and have always done. (so now, erin and i are freaking out about me rubbing my eyes at all) so the end of the story is that a) my insurance only gave a $5 discount off the exam anyway, which, thankfully, was only 50 bucks, b) i’m to go get a “topography” of my eye done, get a printout, and take it to this lens crafters doc so he can look at it and then c) determine if i do hae Keratoconus and if so, recommend me to go to a specialist at the U. of Utah. after i get new insurance, of course, which won’t be until after the new year. he wanted to give me a prescription to just tide me over, but couldn’t make one that worked. he also said that i was on the borderline of the legal driving limit, and recommended not driving at night. yeah. thanks.
so, yeah, that’s fun. it didn’t surprise me cuz i knew something was up, but the fact that it was (of course) some crazy and horrible disease wasn’t so fab. but he said my eyes were otherwise healthy, which, i guess is good, right?