Monday, April 18, 2005

Eye Strain

Thanks to the complete craptasticness of my eye care "plan," not only did I just drop $1000 I don't really have, I was reprimanded by my old eye doctor (who's been seeing me since I was 7) for not coming in for four years. That I work in the arts and he charges $350 a visit is apparently of no interest to him. I have been getting regular check-ups, but at a storefront optometry mill that's part of my insurance network. I decided to suck it up and spend some money because I'm tired of the crappy and uncomfortable frames I'm forced to accept on the plan. I didn't expect a scolding to come with the bill.

First he asked me why I "waited" to schedule my visual field test (which he had his receptionist do before I'd even been in to see him and he knew anything might be wrong with me) until a week before I leave town for the summer. Um, you only do those tests for 5 hours each Monday, and that was the earliest she could get me in? We managed to move it up three weeks, but this is my fault? Then, after telling me I may have glaucoma, he said, "I just wish you'd come in sooner. This is what I was afraid of four years ago." Really? Did you mention that?? Because I think if the possibility that I might be gradually losing my vision had come up, perhaps I would have made a point of coming in sooner!

I'm not actually worried about the glaucoma. Because I also may not have it, and even if I do it's early (since I obviously haven't noticed any change in my vision aside from the usual slight worsening of my nearsightedness) and it's easy to treat. We've got a couple of tests to do next month and that's that. I'm annoyed that my so-called insurance plan doesn't cover a pretty basic eye exam, that no one bothered to tell me I might be missing such a vital piece of care, and of course that my doctor is a very expensive asshole. This last may ultimately be the most annoying, since he's also a very skilled physician and after this experience I can't quite imagine going to anyone else and taking another chance.

Fortunately, the woman at the very expensive ophthalmologist was extremely nice, and funny, and not in so many words reminded me that Dr. Asshole can go fuck himself. He had insisted that I get sunglasses as well as regular ones, and the thought of spending all that money was making me really unhappy. Also the fact that I once had very expensive clip-ons and I never ever wore them. Too much hassle. Ms. Ophthalmologist knew this without having to be told, and sold me on Transitions lenses, which automatically tint when UV rays hit them. There's a fine line here between neat and dorky, and I'm clinging to the idea that these things are magic and therefore cool. I'm also clinging to the fact that the new frames are very flattering (or at least Ms. Ophthalmologist was when I had them on), and therefore worth the exorbitant cost. Oh yeah, and they're titanium. I am hard on my glasses, but that seems unnecessary.

But you don't want to take chances with your eyes, of course, and I guess the lesson learned here is don't skimp. Also that my union sucks and doctors should be nicer people, especially when they're jabbing things at your eyeball.

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