Eye opening technology

For reasons not worth detailing here, for the last 25 years or so I only go to ophthalmologists for my eye exams. Once again yesterday that habit paid off.

When the routine of your annual eye exam becomes different than the year before and the year before that, etc., etc., you tend to notice. The ophthalmologist thought I might have one or two tears in the retina of my right eye so wanted me to see a retinal specialist before I left. Now anyone would sit up and take notice of a retinal tear. But a dozen years ago another basically routine eye exam revealed a detached retina in that same eye. (From that experience, I can tell you that if the person doing your eye exam asks, “Have you had anything to eat today?”, your exam is no longer routine.) Aside from trepidation, the worst part of that surgery was being told I shouldn’t read or drive for six weeks. My wife might well say it was the longest six weeks of her life.

The retinal specialist confirmed there were two tears. Even with a scleral buckle from my prior surgery holding the retina in place, I figured that eye didn’t have a good track record for good things happening. Within half an hour I was in a room just down the hall and he was zapping my right eye (repeatedly) with a laser. Within minutes of the roughly 15-minute procedure, I walked out of the clinic with no restrictions. In fact, the worst part of driving back to work was that my eyes were still dilated from the basic exam.

How amazing is technology? I arrived at 10 am for a routine exam. I walked out of the clinic at 1:15 pm, having seen two ophthalmologists and had eye surgery and was able to return to work. How much was the procedure and is it covered by insurance? Didn’t ask, don’t care, doesn’t matter — we’re talking about the ability to see (and read) here.

So I’ll say here what I’ve often told people. Your eyes deserve their own annual physical — by an ophthalmologist. Sight is worth far, far more than any additional cost (and I don’t think it’s a helluva lot). And, by the way, after this is posted, I’m going to go read and revel in it.

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.

Sylvia Plath, “Mad Girl’s Love Song,” Collected Poems

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