02 March 2013

Optometry Adventures

We all seem to have survived this morning's three-hour trip to the eye doctor... Little Bear did pretty well right up until the end, when he and Daddy went out to sit in the car while I waited in line to take care of our co-pays.

The upshot of our round of tests and exams is that one of us has perfect vision, and the other has slight astigmatism and nearsightedness. Guess which one is getting glasses?

Me. Mrs 20/16. The glasses won't help me see any more clearly; they will (hopefully) cancel out some of the effects of my binocular instability. We've known about the condition for a while, but the last eye doctor I saw said that there wasn't anything we could do to fix it. I guess we will see.

Dr Mavenkamp gave us the best description of binocular instability I've heard yet: In most people, the eyes work together to present the brain with an image of what you're seeing. My eyes are instead competing for dominance, constantly adjusting their focus, each trying to present the image on its own. The closer an object is to my eyes, the more noticeable the focus-shifting, which explains why I feel like I "can't see" things as they get close. With farther-away objects, I'm not usually affected beyond seeing a faint, offset outline.

I went the glasses route once before, but stopped because they gave me headaches; if not for Little Bear I doubt I'd be trying again, but it's so sad to not be able to look down at the sleeping baby in my arms for more than a second or two before the inability to hold the image steady forces me to look away.

Because Matt isn't bothered at all by his vision, the doctor didn't think glasses were necessary. Lucky man. ;-) Maybe some day we will both wind up wearing them.

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