I made the decision while driving to the pool. The road in front of me was a grey haze, and cars and trees and pedestrians were blurry blobs.
Yep, it was time to see my optometrist.
I’ve worn contact lenses for years, but the specific type I use stopped getting made late last year, so I switched to a different type. Every so often – perhaps once a week – I get an hour of blurriness before they suddenly work fine. “I really should get this seen to” inevitably switches to “Nah, it’s fine” every time my vision clears.
But, ya know, driving.
So I called the optomestrist’s office and tried to simply order a different type to try out, but they wouldn’t let me.
And so it was that I went to see my optometrist.
I like medical professionals (probably mainly because I’ve never broken a bone or been shot*, so I’ve never had an urgent need for help that they couldn’t solve with a couple of pills).
Unrelated sidebar: I actually once ran into my optometrist in Christchurch, New Zealand (several years ago). The antipodes are ridiculously small sometimes, even when combined.
So she looks at me, puts dye in my eyes, and does the tests where I need to choose whether a set of blurry dots is more or less blurry than another set of dots. It’s mildly unpleasant, and I always feel slightly concerned I’m answering incorrectly.
As she shone a bright light into my right eyeball, I knew she’d found something. She kept looking, and hmm-ing, and looking again. “Does your right eye hurt at all?”
“No,” I said, wondering if there was some kind of tumour and/or spider nest growing on my corneas. “It feels fine.”
She shone the light in my eye some more, and finally gave it to me straight: “You have something in your eye – probably a tiny piece of lint.”
“I’m going to try and flush it out, and then I’ll need to see you again in a few days. If it’s not gone, I’ll have to refer you to someone else.”
“Oh. Um. Okay.”
“But it’s probably harmless.”
She proceeded to rummage through a drawer and soon produced a syringe filled with a clear liquid. “Tip your head back. This is going to be messy.”
“Um.” I tipped my head back and tried not to panic as she approached me, pushed my eyelid open Clockwork Orange-style, and aimed the syringe.
The clear solution squirted everywhere, including in my mouth.
“Oops,” she said.
“Salty,” I said.
“Yes,” she said. “It’s just a saline solution.”
She sat down. “This thing in your eye probably has nothing to do with the blurriness you’ve been experiencing.”
She cast around for some inspiration. “You know contact lenses are weighted, don’t you?”
“When you put them in, there’s a certain way you have to do it.”
“Oh!” I said, on familiar ground now. “Yes of course – I know that. I always put them in so the little line on the lense goes at the top.”
“The. . . top?” she said.
She shook her head. “The little line goes at the bottom.”
“So. . . I’ve been putting my contact lenses in upside down all this time?”
“That would explain the blurriness then, I should think.”
“Well. Um. Okay, I understand now.”
Then, with absolutely no trace of sarcasm**, she took out a business card and drew me the following diagram to take home (presumably to consult each morning):
Medical mystery: solved.
**You think I’m joking. I assure you I am not.