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Strange Visions Of This Working Out

, , , , | Healthy | December 24, 2021

I work as an optometrist. One of my coworkers snags me when I’m briefly leaving my room.

Coworker: “Hey, can you sign this prescription for me real quick?”

A signature is required in order for the prescription to be valid.

Me: “Yeah, sure thi— Wait. This says [date roughly ten years back].”

Coworker: “Wait, what?”

It’s an easy mistake if you only glance quickly before you print it. He takes back the paper, checks the date again, and heads back to the counter where a man is waiting.

Coworker: “It seems your last exam here was about ten years ago. This prescription is no longer valid. I’m sorry, but—”

Man: *Interrupting* “What do you mean? You can’t know what [the Swedish military] accepts! Just give me the prescription!”

He goes on a rant about how we can’t know, we should just sign it and let him try, etc. I smell a major nuisance, so I head over and get involved in order to spare my poor unprepared coworker.

Me: “I’m sorry, but it’s way out of date. Prescriptions are only valid for a year; there is absolutely no way they will accept this.”

Man: “Well, you don’t know that! They might accept it!”

Me: “Sorry, but no. Someone’s vision can change a lot even in just, say, two years, in terms of what correction they need and how they see with and without glasses. Ten years is way too much for me to sign—”

Man: “It hasn’t changed! You could at least let me try! You don’t know; they might accept it!”

Me: “I can guarantee they won’t. We could still book a new exam for you—”

Man: “But I just did an exam in another shop this summer. My vision hadn’t even changed!”

Okay, genius, then what in the entire world are you doing in OUR shop? Where you haven’t been for roughly ten years, mind you?

Me: “Which shop was that?”

Man: “Well, I don’t remember that! My vision hadn’t changed!”

Me: “Well, there’s no way for us to know that without a new exam. Maybe your best option is to figure out where your last exam was and ask them—”

Man: “Oh, come on. Seriously? Just give it to me! You don’t know if they accept it!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but this is no longer legally valid. I can’t sign it. They won’t accept it.”

And this is where the man finally swore under his breath, did a full 180, and stomped out of the shop muttering about how awful we were. I just exchanged incredulous looks of get-a-load-of-this-guy with my equally confused coworkers.

Dude. I may not know the exact rules of the military, but I can guarantee you that the first thing their guidelines say about prescriptions and vision certificates is, “Must be less than a year old.” We are merely saving you from a waste of time.

Also, I am quite proud of my incredible restraint in not pointing out that the last time he did an exam with us, I, now a fully licensed optometrist, was literally still in elementary school. I wonder if that would’ve given him some perspective.

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