She looked deep into my eyes, and...

By John Toth

I passed my last eye exam at the age of 50 at the Angleton DPS office when I had to get my license renewed. I looked up the eye chart on Google the night before and memorized all the bottom letters, just in case. I saw most of them, anyway.

Being middle aged, I have had trouble accepting the fact that those young eyes, which could see anything anywhere at any distance, have taken a beating over the last three decades reading all those little letters on the computer screen.

And, I could tell that what used to be easy to read 20 years ago now is sort of blurry. So, what can a typical guy do in a predicament like this but let his wife nag and talk him into seeing an optometrist and get a comprehensive exam.

There I sat in the waiting room, not being able to remember when I had my last eye exam, renewal of license exempted. I just left that answer blank. I then saw that my cell phone battery was almost dead. What am I going to do now? I don’t want to touch all those magazines. Who knows who read them last? It could be someone with some contagious eye disease.

It was boring. Then it was my turn. I looked into all sort of machines. A puff of air was blown in each eye. Then it was time to read a few charts. As soon as I got a little close, I started memorizing the bottom lines. The doctor must have anticipated that because she pushed a button and changed the letters.

Now read the very last line, she said.

“Made in China.” I was trying to lighten things up a little.

I cannot accept the fact that I may need corrective lenses. I’ve always had perfect sight. How could this happen – me getting old? Ok. 54 is not that old, but it’s older than being, let’s say 53, or even younger.

It seems like it was just a few years ago when I graduated from college ... in 1979. It seems like my kids were just born. OK, the youngest is 17. Anyway, that’s not even my point.

Then the doctor put all these fluids in my eyes and told me to wait 15 minutes. My pupils dilated and she wanted to get a good look inside the eye. They can tell a lot about what’s going on inside a person by doing all these tests.

Eye exams can detect early stages of: diabetes; eye tumors; high blood pressure; infectious diseases; macular degeneration; retinal detachment; and vasculitis.

Well, the doctor looked and looked. I asked, “What do you see?” She said, “two eyes.” Ok. She didn’t say that, but should have. It would have been funny.

After all was said and done, and I told her that I felt like my eyes are growing weaker, she gently broke the news. I was still sitting in the examination chair.

Your eyes are fine, she said. Everything is normal. So, how come I can’t see the fine print like 20 years ago? Because that was 20 years ago, she said. Get some reading glasses.

That’s it? There ought to be a law that if they don’t find anything wrong with you, you can get a refund. Just kidding. She made my day. Now, what did I do with those reading glasses?