It had been 1.5 years since I was there, which isn't awful but speaks to my hesitation. Upon arrival I was taken into the one room to get that terrifying exam where they shoot little spurts of air into your eyes. I think that's step one of my fear of going to the eye doctor, the air guns straight into the eyes. She did a few other tests in there and asked me about my use of contacts and glasses as well as any medication, in which I let her know, I am still on insulin.
Then I was taken to my eye doctor's examination room and I sat down in the crazy chair full of instruments and braced myself for any kind of news. We went through so many tests, like an abundance of tests. The first test was the classic, 'read me the lowest line' and me, trying to overachieve, always went for the very smallest one, a e o? no g? wait, q? and he would ask me to try another line. Good try, but you suck. [He wouldn't actually say that]
We moved on to a colour blind test which I thought I failed. He was going through the cards at rapid fire and I felt the pressure, then I got stuck on one, which I believe was a curvy 6, then immediately I thought, I am colour blind. My whole life I have been mixing up greens and browns. But, he never mentioned it, so I assume I can see all colours. The second test involved math, which always gets me nervous, he held each hand in my peripheral vision and held fingers up that I had to add up. Simple math, but when you're already nervous, this is nerve wracking.
Then followed other tests like seeing double and picking which one looked best, trying different lenses with those big goofy glasses. Then came a few different eye drops, in which each time I asked, are these that bad ones? It wasn't until the last time that the dreaded pupil dilator ones came out. My eyes burned right away and he sent me into the waiting area to wait 15 minutes until they began working their magic. I was trying to text my friend but slowly my vision was getting worse and I gave up and watched the T.V in the distance that flashed facts about eye health.
The word 'DIABETIC RETINOPATHY" flashed in big bold letter followed by "GLAUCOMA" and other eye diseases and I started to panic. Anytime I saw the word "diabetes" or "diabetic" I always assumed it was a message to me. I ignored it and waited until the 15 minutes had passed to go in for my last few exams which involved a lot of bright lights and pulling at the eye.
Thankfully after all of this the only conclusion was that my left eye was slightly weaker than the right and could use .25 more on the prescription. The other news was that I have a slight astigmatism but nothing that needs correcting and can come from rubbing the eyes - nothing diabetes related. Lastly, I do have a couple scars on my eyes that were there at my last appointment 1.5 years ago and that was caused by wearing monthly contacts. I already knew about this and immediately had changed from monthly contacts to daily contacts to avoid any further damage. My eye doctor told me that that simple change can reduce the chance of eye damage 10 fold.
There was no signs of any issues in my eyes and what a relief that was. I let him know about my hesitation to come and my fear of bad news but he insisted that prevention is key, and that with today's knowledge and technology, a lot of eye issues can be addressed and prevented.
I left my appointment looking like those big eyed Beanie Boos and felt ecstatic that my dreaded appointment turned out to be good and also a reminder that prevention is key. For anyone that is hesitant about going to an appointment remember that it just takes courage to get here and whether or not you get good news or bad, you have given yourself an opportunity to get better, get needed help/services and most of all prevent things from getting worse.