Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Overprescribed Eyes

Well, not hers. She kept asking, "Do my eyes LOOK like there's anything wrong with 'em?"
"Do my eyes LOOK like there's anything wrong with 'em?"

I had an appointment with the optometrist today, and made one for Bella, too. She's never had a real checkup, and since she's all into learning to read now, I've noticed her squinting and leaning in close when she's working on a tough word. I suspected it was just "body-English" used in figuring out those words, but it couldn't hurt to be sure. Neither Alex or I had any eye problems as young'uns, but on the other hand, my sister was bumping into walls by the time she was 6. So, it was nice to be certain. But wait a sec--let me show you the eye chart they started with, before the doc came in and realized that she had a good grasp on letters and he could use the regular charts:
It Might Be Time To Update the Children's Eyechart

OK, the second and fourth items from the left? How many children younger than reading age would really recognize those items? Fortunately for Bella, with her Electric Company DVDs, there is a telephone like that in the office of Fargo North, Decoder. But that other thing? That is a "Jeep." Young people, topless Jeeps were common in the days when dinosaurs, and other creatures who were alive in the 70's, roamed the earth. Bella identified that glyph as a pair of glasses, for which she was given full credit.

She loved the whole experience, mostly because we went to a really good doctor, who is great with kids.
Better?  Or Worse?

Then it was my turn. I'd switched eye docs to come here, and I think it was a good choice, because I came out with a prescription that is half as strong as the one I've had for the last five years (I went suddenly nearsighted during a prolonged surgery several years ago...luckily, just a little), and MUCH more comfortable eyes. I'm sharing this in case anyone else might be in the same boat, and not know why. My previous prescription was -1.0 in each eye. I wore glasses mainly for driving and watching movies, or anytime I needed to see something at a distance. I could only wear them for a little while at a time, though, and I'd have to take them off and rest my eyes. And I couldn't wear contacts at all, though I went through several brands and types trying them. I just couldn't tolerate them for more than two or three hours, and they made me miserable while they were in. I could see better, sure, but ugh. So I was stuck with the glasses.

If this is happening to you, try getting a second opinion about your prescription strength from another eye doctor. It turns out that I'd been "overprescribed" for YEARS, and every time I wore my glasses, or especially contacts, my eyes were forced to "hyperfocus," and naturally became strained and irritated. My new prescription? -o.50 in each eye. I've been wearing a pair of contacts in that strength for 8 hours now with no eyestrain whatsoever. UNREAL. But HEY--now I'll be able to SEE at BlogHer! Everyone who's more than 30 feet away won't look like this:
The Girl Knows Irony (by Bella)
This photo, by the way, was taken by Bella, when she turned off the flash and shot our eye doctor as they were both moving. I kind of love it for its natural irony.


  1. Heh. My lad would recognise the phone as the Fisher-Price toy phone, and the jeep as Nigel's jeep from Prehistoric Park.

    We had the same experience when he had his checkup a couple of years ago - the optometrist was breaking out the pictogram chart, when the lad started reeling off the letters. Which was handy, as he was able to do a colour vision test as well. He did get a bit agitated when he wasn't able to read the smallest line of letters, and needed some reassurance that he wasn't supposed to be able to read them. I remember angsting about "passing" eye tests when I was in first grade, because they were _tests_, and you were supposed to do _well_.

  2. Hee. Bella didn't know what a "Jeep" was, and was highly skeptical when I told her that it was a kind of car. She has laughed and laughed before when I described a rotary phone. Then when we got TEC DVDs, I was all, "HA! There is a phone that you DIAL! They DID exist!" She said, "Yeah, but this is just a SHOW."

    I know I was supposed to take her for an eye check when she turned 3, but I just forgot. On the whole reading thing, I'm concerned. It's another whole year until she'll be allowed to start KINDERGARTEN, and by then...well, I just hope she likes school better than I did at that age. She is asking for new books on a daily basis...meanwhile the "kindergarten readiness" requirements list things like "recognition of letters and numbers." What will she DO all day?

  3. I love the pictures of Bella asking the whole world to check and see if there is anything in her eyes, as if her eyes aren't big enough already.

    I'm sorry also, but you've been tagged. It's one of those memes and you were one of the "lucky" few that I wanted to advertise for. The rules (like I follow them) state that I have to ask you to check out my blog for full info so now I have.

  4. Hmm I wonder if my -7.5 eyes are overprescribed?

  5. Bella has such beautiful eyes!
    My -7.5 eyes have been changing due to (ahem) age. I'm now -6.5, and I throw reading glasses over my contacts when I'm teaching. Ah, the hassles of being forty-something.