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Eye know

Snellen ChartGeoff’s medical quest of America continues, this week: The Opticians. Or as some people obviously simplify it: ‘The Eye Doctor’.

Actually, the difference that I found out about optometrists here is that in the UK, they can only serve for you for vision correctional procedures (i.e. glasses and lenses), but if you have a disease of the eye (i.e. Glaucoma) then they have to refer you. Here in the US of A, the Opto-bloke can do the whole shooting match whatever the problem with your eyes.

My Opto-bloke for my check up this morning was a grey haired, mustached and slightly bearded chap in his 50’s who almost too nonchalantly swaggered into the examination room where I’d been waiting for him for 20 minutes and starting chatting like we were old buddies. I actually found it a little disconcerting and slightly unprofessional.

It didn’t help either that whilst all his, er… ‘assistants’ ? (If a dentist has hygienists, what do opticians call their sidekicks?) wore matching black blouses, pink trousers and white tennis shoes (And yes, the all the the SAME BRAND of trainers – I kid you not), he swanned around wearing some ugly brown and yellow Hawaiian shirt that had clearly seen better days.

I was also confused about the state-of-artness about the whole place. In one room I’d been ushered into, they had the most up to date whizz bang equipment for doing all sorts of things to my eyes (including blowing puffs of air into my pupils which seemed to serve no purpose other than to make me go “Hey! What was that for!”) that wouldn’t have looked out of place on the space shuttle.

But then over in Steve McGarrett’s test room where you get to call out the letters, the equipment is more antiquated, and as he moves round this clunky black metal contraption to place in front of my eyes, it audibly ‘squeaks’ and he jokes that he’s going to need to put some WD40 on it so that it doesn’t do that in future. Great.

Talking of calling out letters – the trick of remembering the pattern of letters like I used to for that tricky seventh line and onwards (U A Z N F D T etc…) no longer works, because it would appear that the standard snellen chart is not used here. There’s still a ‘Z’ (“Zed”) though, which got a snigger when I pronounced it such, instead of “Zee” like they all do. I may say ‘Compuder’ and ‘Phodo’ from time to time, but I’m holding steady on my “zeds”, honest.

One final amusing note of the day goes to the lovely Heather with whom it would have been a crime not have flirted with a little – because of her lovely blue eyes. Except therein lies the rub: She was the opto-sidekick that had to administer me with drops to dilate my pupils, and from there we got into a conversation about why they’re coloured the way they are, and she revealed that her blue eyes were in fact … brown! She’s was wearing coloured contact lenses, ably demonstrated when she flicked each one to the side with her fingers revealing her true eye colour beneath. It was fun, but a bit freaky too.

Random non health related moment of the week: Out of all the words that Americans have never heard of that I try out on them almost for fun sometimes, I’ve never had a more disbelieving reaction to ‘Cagoule‘ which I had to say several times, spell out verbally, write down, and even fire up this page to prove to people that I spoke to this week that I wasn’t just making it up.

22 responses to “Eye know”

  1. geofftech says:

    A gold star this week to anyone that hummed De La Soul

  2. Have you not had your eyes blown back home? They’ve been doing it to mine for years.

  3. geofftech says:

    Never had my eyes blown before, no! Never been tested for Glaucoma before either, but now i’m THIRTY FIVE years old (and some), they start to do it. Grr.

  4. Leigh says:

    i think we call them optometrists, not opticians.

    Also… what’s this about you flirting with another girl???

  5. Stroppycow says:

    I don’t think it’s anything to do with age, I have had the puff in the eye thing as routine in eye test for years.

  6. geoffte says:

    She started it.

    All I know is that I left the opto-place [© Geofftech] humming Van Morrision but replacing “brown eyed girl” for “blue contact eye’d girl” instead, which doesn’t fit as well, rhythmically speaking.

  7. Mikey says:

    I had the puff of air thing done for the first time this year, as they said it was now required as I developed Diabetes.

  8. Paul Leonard says:

    So, do you need glasses or not?

  9. Patrick says:

    I hate the “puff of air” (the glaucoma test) as well. And it’s always worse with me because my eyes know it’s coming and they won’t sit still long enough and so they end up having to do it to me several times to get a decent reading.

    We use “eye doctor” whether it’s really an optometrist or an ophthalmologists. The main difference now is that ophthalmologists perform eye surgery. In years past, optometrists didn’t dilate your eyes, but now that’s required of both as I understand it. I had gone to an optometrist for years and never had my eyes dilated until moving to Charleston when they told me that this is now the norm.

    “Eye doctor” is just a lot easier. 🙂

  10. DivineMrsM says:

    Isn’t the puff ‘o’ air test something to do with testing the pressure at the back of the eye – checking for brain tumours or something..?

  11. Tina (G's Mum) says:

    I too have had my eyes ‘puffed’ frequently, I hate it. Like someone’s poking a stick in your eye, only there’s no stick. Re: Cagoule, I believe it’s an Eskimo word, so try going up North a bit, they might know what you mean then!

  12. Mark Garth says:

    I’ve been having the slightly disturbing puff of air for years now and it still gets the same reaction from me, although the optician tells me that that’s a good thing. Having had laser eye surgery (excellent) and the hours and hours of eye testing that goes with it, I now the humble eye test slightly disappointing.

  13. Mark Garth says:

    Why did I omit the word ‘find’ from my post? Must have been the Lemon & Lime Jaffa Cake that I had just been offered 🙂

  14. Patrick says:

    The ‘puff of air’ test is for glaucoma…it does detect an increased level of pressure in the eye itself, but that’s a warning sign for glaucoma.

  15. Paul says:

    I’ve never liked a puff in my eyes either, but I guess thats the price I pay for being a hetrasexual male.

  16. Geoff's Mum says:

    Re my previous post about NHS Dentists’ charges, I went yesterday, had a scale & polish, and 1 very small surface filling.
    The cost was £43.70 Apparently there are now just 3 levels of payment, £15.50 for a scale & polish, £43 for any fillings,
    and a whopping £195 for any bridge or crown work. Nothing in between. What bright spark thought that up I wonder?
    Shant be going too often at those prices!

  17. Paul Leonard says:

    I got my bridge done before I was 18, saved me a fortune by the looks of things. Really hurt at the time mind!

  18. Simon says:

    The puff of air thing is hell man. I should be a bushtucker challenge.

  19. Paul Webb says:

    iDoctor, surely…

  20. Ciaran Byrne says:

    I recently went to the BBC dentist in White City (remember that?) and some root canal treatment and two fillings done. Apart from it being the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life (and I have had broken bones, fractures, tattoos and kicked in the bollocks a few times) it cost me £595. Thieving. Fucking. Bastards.

    By the way I didn’t have broken bones, fractures, tattoos and kicks in the bollocks at the same time.

  21. geofftech says:

    I was never ever impressed with the BBC dentist – nope. I went once and they told be the lie about a tooth rotting overnight in a cup of coke.


    Anywhere, here’s a much better eyetest…

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