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Sunday, January 16, 2011

I love my opthalmologist!

In April 2009 on the spur of the moment I asked my GP for a referral to the eye specialist whom I had not visited for nearly 10 years. I don't know what made me do that because I had just been getting my eyes tested at a big Optometry chain and the specs organised by them. A friend's daughter worked at this chain and was always so helpful in finding frames etc that were flattering (well sort of flattering) and knew lots of 'tricks' to help disguise how thick the lenses had become over the years. Maybe I should digress here and give some history of my eyesight! ... I first had trouble seeing the blackboard in Grade 8 but not much notice was really taken until in my Grade 9 year I went into our next door neighbour's yard where her son and some other local boys were shooting with their air rifles. I asked them what they were shooting at and they said 'the toy cowboys and indians' on the retaining wall. Well for the life of me I couldn't see them. Then one boy lent me his glasses and when I put them on I could see all these little plastic figures on the wall...magic!

So from 14 years old I wore glasses and hated them! Then before I married, I got contact lenses in 1971. Even though it was great not having glasses I was to have various problems with infections etc over the next 25 years. Then in the mid 1990s I suffered a detached retina and after the painful treatment I vowed it would be a long time before I put a lens in my eye. (there was no medical reason to stop wearing the was all in my head...) Unfortunately my specs now had very thick lenses...horrible!!!

I think this photo shows how thick the lenses were; especially the right one

Any way back to 2009...I was not able to get an appointment until July. By then I had been pondering how I would still be able to afford the high price that my specs had become when I had retired. Even with private health insurance, I still had to pay $450+ and often every year or 18 months. I knew that my eyesight was 'too bad' to completely cure with laser surgery but I thought it could improve my sight so that the specs would be thinner and possibly because of that I wouldn't need all these 'extras' that used to camouflage the thickness. I decided I was going to ask the doctor about laser surgery. When I did, he deflated me by saying it wouldn't work for me. But then he said that I had cataracts developing on both eyes. That explained the 2 instances that year when I awoke with blurred vision that lasted till morning tea break. Because I had cataracts my health fund would pay all the expenses for inter-ocular implants. These implants are often done on people with poor vision but they are charged nearly $3000 per eye and the health funds don't pay out. The doctor promised me that 'I would be a new woman'... and he was right. I had one eye done at a time with 5 days between. Within hours of the op I could see out of that eye. I had to lie in a darkened room for a few days and had to use drops constantly. A few days after the second op I woke up in the morning and realised that I could see a neighbour's garden down the road a bit! I had become so shortsighted over the years that I saw nothing clearly beyond 6 inches from my face...

One thing though, I couldn't things close up. The doctor said to buy reading glasses of 2.5 magnification from the chemists, which I did and they were great! Then a friend said that the 'cheap shops' have reading glasses for as little as $4! So I checked them out and bought some of those. Now I have a pair beside the computer, beside the bed, on the kitchen bench, on my sewing table, on the coffee table in the lounge and a few pairs in handbags. My former hairdresser used to call me 'Elton' because every time I had my hair done I had a different pair of lairy glasses to put on to read the mags!

My 2.5 reading glasses bought over the counter. This collection ranges in price from $4 to $20. A lot different from the full priced $700 ones I used to have!

One of the best things though is the fact that I can wear ordinary sunglasses! And people can see my eyes not the thick, thick lenses !! I do love Dr Waldie!!


Susan said...

What a big change for you ... no wonder you're so pleased with your Opthalmologist.
Great idea about those otc glasses too. I'm keen to check them out for television viewing. My glasses just don't do the job, whereas they're good for everything else!

Kayly said...

I was also fourteen when I got my glasses. Real 'Nana Mouskouri' ones. I hated them. Mum must have done a lot of saving because the next year she bought me lovely thin gold Italian frames.I managed to keep them going for many years. Of all the frames I've worn, they would still be my favourites. They even got the approval of the 'cool' guy at school. I was one of the nerdy ones, so that helped my confidence.
People who don't wear glasses just do not understand how fustrating glasses and poor eye sight can be. Mum has just had her cataracts done,and now has the thinnest lenses she's ever had and loves them.
Don't just love all the different cheap reading glasses you can get now? One for every mood and outfit.