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It’s Important To Look These Questions Right In The Eye

, , , , , , | Healthy | September 29, 2022

Ever since I was about eight, I have had a very high prescription for my vision. I’m now in my mid-twenties. I have looked into LASIK but am not a candidate, so I’m looking into ICL surgery, where they implant a lens in the eye.

I’m at an appointment with a surgeon to see if it’s something I can have done. After many tests, the surgeon determines that he will have to discuss my case with another surgeon since he has never done the surgery on someone with my prescription.

Assistant #1: “She does have a few questions about the surgery if that’s all right.”

Surgeon: “Eh, let’s not waste our time if I can’t even do the surgery on her.”

I’m a little put off by this. A few days later, I get a call from a different assistant.

Assistant #2: “[Surgeon] talked with the other surgeon, and they’ve agreed they can do the surgery. I’ve scheduled it for [date]. Does that work for you?”

Me: “Er, I had a few questions for the surgeon that I wanted to ask before making any decisions.”

Assistant #2: “I can do that. What questions do you have?”

We go through a few different questions, and these are the ones that make me uncomfortable going through with the surgery.

Me: “How many times has this other surgeon done the surgery on someone with a prescription like mine?”

Assistant #2: “Once.”

Me: “And were there any complications?”

Assistant #2: “There were, but they were resolved. The patient is very happy with the results.”

Me: “What are the risks if I do the surgery?”

Assistant #2: “If they do the wrong sized lens, you could end up with glaucoma that could cause blindness, or you could have retinal detachment. But we can try to resolve any issues that might happen.”

Me: “How much does the surgery cost?”

Assistant #2: “$4,000 per eye.”

Me: “And when is that due?”

Assistant #2: “The entire payment will need to be paid the day before the surgery.”

Me: “Okay, thank you for your time. I will need to discuss this with my husband first, so please cancel the scheduled surgery.”

Assistant #2: “But it’s your eyes.”

Me: “I understand, but I do need to discuss this with him first.”

Assistant #2: “But it’s your eyes.”

Me: “I’m currently a stay-at-home mom, and my husband is the sole provider of our family. We discuss big expenses together before making any discussions.”

Assistant #2: “But it’s your eyes!”

I’m thinking, “No crap, lady, it’s my eyes. I still have to pay $8,000 whether or not the surgeon potentially blinds me or leaves me with major complications.”

Sadly, Literacy-Vision Glasses Have Yet To Be Invented

, , , , , , | Right | September 28, 2022

I call this issue “Spouse From Hell Syndrome”. There you are at work, assisting people with their glasses, and a couple comes in with a problem. The wife has the problem, but the husband speaks for her and she doesn’t say a word.

Husband: “There’s something wrong with her glasses; she can’t see with them.”

I smile at the wife.

Me: “Okay. What do you use them for?”

Husband: “She’s meant to use them for reading, but she can’t.”

Me: “Okay. I’ll look them over.”

I check the fit and check the lenses against the prescription given. The husband starts huffing and shifting impatiently.

Me: “Everything looks correct as to the prescription.”

I then whip out a reading card.

Husband: “I already said she can’t read with those. We want some she can read with!”

Me: “Yes, I am working through all the checks I have to make, sir. I want to pinpoint the issue here.”


I ask the wife various questions, but I am drawing a blank all the way! She can see the print perfectly at a distance suitable to read from. Then, I ask her to read out the bottom line. And she can’t.

Because she cannot read. She was never taught.

The irate husband is by now shrieking at me:

Husband: “The ads are misleading! THEY SAY YOU CAN READ CLOSE UP!”

Me: “The true name for reading glasses is ‘near vision glasses’. The words ‘reading glasses’ only apply if the person can already read!”

The man stomped out with his wife in tow. She never said a word.

I had that happen three times in a ten-year career.

Just Can’t See What A Freakin’ Creep You’re Being

, , , , | Right | September 9, 2022

I recently took a job as an optician in the vision center of a retail giant. I was a cashier for several years prior, and I have experience ignoring creeps on the other side of a register, but where I work now, I have to get kind of up close and personal to take measurements.

Last week, I had a “gentleman” about forty years my senior come in for new glasses. I had the worst luck with this guy.

He had his exam, picked his frames, sat down in front of me, and would not stop trying to flirt with me.

Customer: “Ooh, what’s your middle name? Is it Jo? No… Laura? Lily?”

Me: “Not even close, sir. Now hold this up and look at the green light.”

Customer: “Amy? Jo? Ann? Elizabeth? Jo? Lucy?”

Yes, he guessed Jo multiple times.

Me: *As emotionless as possible* “Still not even close. Look straight at the bridge of my nose.”

Customer: “Ooh, you don’t have to tell me twice.”

Me: *As quickly as possible* “Your glasses will be in within a week. How are you paying?”

His glasses came in a couple of days later. Of course, I was the only free person when that gentleman came in, and I had to bite my tongue as he made more comments, this time to his buddy.

Customer: “This is the girl I told you about. She won’t tell me her middle name. Maybe she finds me creepy. Aww, she isn’t laughing. Guess she does find me creepy.”

A couple of days later, he called in, and again, I had the displeasure of being the only person available at the beginning of the call.

Customer: “Yeah… the measurements must be wrong. These are crap.”

Me: “Okay, well, let me see what my coworker says. I’m putting you on hold.”

I asked my coworker to finish the call, and he told the guy to come in and he’d see what could be done.

He (thankfully) came in while I was off, but he left a note with a fake name saying how he doesn’t like my attitude but loves two of my coworkers.

His WIFE told my manager the correct name as they left.

Good Thing This Eye Doctor Has Good Eyes!

, , , , | Healthy | August 23, 2022

This was eight years ago when I was working as an optical assistant, but it’s still the most memorable day I had at that optician’s office.

I’m given a list of names to take through to their pre-test screening, and this patient is a five-year-old girl here for her first eye test

Me: “[Girl]? Hello there! Is this your first ever eye test?”

The little girl nods, holding her mum’s hand.

Mum: “Yes, she’s been getting some headaches, but she reads fine so I don’t think it’s her eyes, but her general doctor said we had to have this done first in case she needs glasses.”

Me: “Okay, it’s nice and easy, so just hop up on this chair.”

I do two tests with her. The second is a retinal photograph: a picture of the back of the eye. It looks a little strange, but I’m only taught to do the tests, not to analyse the results, so I take the pair of them through to the ophthalmologist’s room.

About ten minutes later, the mother and daughter hurry out, closely followed by the opthalmologist.

Ophthalmologist: “Are you okay to drive or would you prefer an ambulance?”

Mum: “I’ll drive.”

Ophthalmologist: “Okay, drive safe, but go quickly. I’ll call ahead.”

It turned out that the strange photo I’d taken showed a frontal lobe brain tumour pressing against the back of the eye. The opthalmologist looked closer during their tests and said it was a textbook emergency case but the first one she had ever seen in person.

A couple of weeks later, a woman I recognised came back in

Mum: “Hello. I was here the other week. Your optician found my daughter’s brain tumour. I just wanted to let you know that, thanks to you, she’s fine. She had surgery that day and they’re now doing follow-up treatment, but they think she’ll make it. I can’t thank you enough. Could I speak to the optician she saw?”

We took her through to the ophthalmologist’s room and left them talking. When she came back out, she thanked us again and left a box of homemade brownies for all of the staff

We were all so glad the little girl was okay, and I use this example every time someone thinks it isn’t worth getting an eye test because their vision is fine.

Be Proud Of Your Child For Achieving The Impossible

, , , , , | Working | August 9, 2022

I’ve had to wear glasses since I was six. As any responsible child, I would break my glasses often. This story was relayed to me by my father and siblings, so I can’t vouch that it hasn’t been embellished, but this is how it was told to me.

My dad was sick of having to buy glasses every few months and was complaining to the guy at the counter about it.

Employee: *Smirking* “One moment, sir.”

He went into the back and returned with the thinnest glasses frame my dad had ever seen, thinner than pencil lead.

Dad: *Laughing* “Oh, he’ll break those in less than a day!”

Employee: “If you can break them, you can have them.”

So, cue my dad bending them 90°,180°, twisting, pulling, and stomping — these things were indestructible (I assume the lenses were empty). It turned out these things were made of titanium with memory; basically, these puppies would always return to their original shape and were near impossible to break.

My dad, thinking about the future money he’d save not ever buying me glasses again, ended up buying me a pair, bragging about it and everything. 

These things were not cheap at all; they were R2000 (about 122USD, a lot of money at the time of this story) and had to be shipped with the lenses to Europe so they could be super heated to be malleable enough to put the lenses in and then shipped back.

Less than a week later, I came home from school.

Me: “I’ve broken my glasses again.”

He laughed and I showed them to him. They were fully bent 90° at the nose bit. My dad stared and tried to bend them back. SURPRISE! IT SNAPPED BACK TO THE 90° ANGLE!

Yeah, tiny child me had somehow changed this thing’s memory enough so it returned to its unusable 90° bend. My dad took it back to the shop, and the guy was dumbfounded. It shouldn’t be possible; you can only do this by super heating it with specific machinery. It should be physically impossible for me to have done this. No one even knew how I’d done it; I just said, “They broke.”

They offered to send them back for free, but my dad took this as a challenge. If I could bend it, surely he could unbend it. Apparently, for the next three to five months, this was all he could think about because, no matter what my father did to these titanium glasses, they just snapped back.

This story has a sad ending: the glasses got lost — no one remembers how or why — and the dream was given up on, and I went back to cheap frames.

Whenever the story is brought up, my family describes how my dad was basically unraveled and raving like a mad man about how he couldn’t fix them. (For context, my dad grew up on a farm before moving to the city to become an IT guy, so this man is buff and knows how to use a lot of expensive tools. Those glasses broke.)