Eye eye!

By | 29 September, 2011
Someone's eye, yesterday

Someone's eye, yesterday

Today was the day of my annual (or thereabouts) eye check up at the Royal Infirmary. I moseyed on down the hospital for an appointment first thing and went through the usual procedures.

We started off with the standard eye-sight test which involves reading letters off a board. This is done by looking at the board via a mirror, for reasons I’ve never been able to fathom.

As always the top line was ludicrously easy and so it remained until we got down to the bottom of the chart. “Q. A. Blob. Squiggle. Probably a B. Might be a C.” and so on. Anyway, apparently I have the eyes of a hawk or something equally silly.

I was then strapped to the photo machine and systematically blinded in both eyes with the extraordinarily bright flash. At least – thank heavens – the Drops of Doom™ weren’t needed.

Drops of Doom™, which dilate the pupils to the size of dinner plates, are designed purely to torture poor, innocent diabetics. When they’re inflicted on me I invariably spend the next two hours stumbling around and shying away from bright light like Dracula’s diabetic son.

Anyway, we soon had some cool pictures of my eyes up on the screen in front of us. They looked like a cross section of a particularly unpleasant meatball from an unhygienic café. But according to the eye-photo-taking-guy (I’m sure he has a proper title) they showed no signs of retinopathy or anything else that sends metaphoric shivers down the spine, which was nice to hear. The pictures will go off to the Edinburgh Eye Pavilion through a more thorough check and I’ll get the formal results in a week or two.

One thing that has irritated me about the eye screening in Edinburgh is that it is now done separately from the normal clinics. This means two trips instead of one to the hospital, which is a pain given the Royal Infirmary is as easily accessible on public transport as the North Pole. (Well, it is from where I live – and that’s the important thing).

So I was prepared for a good, angry rant about this inconvenience and the madness of separating eye-screening from the general clinic. But before I had a chance to go off on one, the eye-photo-taking-guy (what is his title?) asked if I would like to have my eyes done at my local GP surgery in future. Apparently they’ve done this for ages and it’ll be extremely convenient for me as my surgery is exactly equidistant between work and home and I was changed to the new venue there and then.

A good result, but a great opportunity for a rant was lost. You just can’t win, eh?

8 thoughts on “Eye eye!

  1. Lola

    Looking at the board via a mirror – the technical answer is so that they don’t have to make the examination rooms twice as long. Having said this, I’ve never understood why they don’t make the letters on the board half as big.

    1. Diana Maynard

      Erm no it wouldn’t need to be twice as long. You would just put the board with the letters where the mirror is now. Things aren’t twice as small when you look at them in a mirror, they’re the same size as if the thing was where the mirror is! Simple physics. I think the real reason is so that it’s less easy to see the real letters because they’re inverted, when you walk around the room. You can only see the letters reflected in the mirror if you’re at the right angle (due to the mirror) so the chances of accidentally seeing the letters when you’re too close are slim.

      1. Tim Post author

        The board though has mainly (possibly exclusively) symmetrical letters – O’s H’s Y’s and so on. So it shouldn’t matter which way round they are.

        The debate rages on! 😀

        1. Lola

          My optician now has a computer screen instead of the mirror, so the letters change position all the time, and you can’t get a look before you sit down (like we all did for the driving test).

          Putting the letters where the mirror is demands smaller letters than where the letters are. If you look in a mirror and someone is behind you, they appear further away (and smaller) than your own reflection.

  2. Tim Post author

    @lolablogger – ahhh, that makes sense! I knew I would get a sensible answer from a reader 🙂

  3. Annette A

    Amazingly, I had my eyes done yesterday. Also at my GPs, because now the hospital eye clinic is no longer interested in me (there is benefit in being boringly ‘normal’), I could get them done at the GPs diabetic clinic in the mobile screening van – which is in the back of a blacked out transit van. And doesnt have mirrors in it. Maybe the letters are half as big on the one we use here…but I did have the drops, which just made things a bit blurry for a couple of hours, despite it being a bright sunny summer’s day like we didnt have during the summer.
    GPs diabetic clinic – where they look at numbers and check bp and cholesterol etc, but managed to never actually mention my diabetes…and they wonder why I go to the hospital clinic…

  4. katherine cromwell

    Down in Poole we get our eyes checked at the opticians which are recommended by the hospital. My optician lets me see the photos and remarks upon any problems. You can guarantee its always sunny whenever I have those dreaded drops sunglasses just don’t work for me it has to be a darkened room. Sensitive!

  5. Megs

    I always feel the need to read the letters from right to left just because I am looking in a mirror. On numerous occasions the optician has helpfully pointed out that we normally read left to right.


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