Visual potential

On Wednesday I had two eye appointments; the first was series of tests ("neuroophthalmic evaluation," if you want to be an asshole) to determine if/how my vision would stand to improve if the cataract in my left eye were removed. When I got there and checked in via this airline-esque kiosk, I was told that the doctor I was supposed to see was "out of commission." Both the receptionist and the other doctor, the one I eventually did see who never introduced himself, said "out of commission" in the same tone, like they were hooking their collar with their index finger and pulling it away from their neck, that stagey gesture. The doctor who didn't introduce himself entered the room with two other people who didn't introduce themselves and started talking about how they almost never did this test anymore.

Then he pulled up a black suitcase-type thing--something that looked like it held a camera from the 1920s--and literally blew the dust off of it. The doctor and a guy wearing scrubs who seemed like some kind of tech then proceeded to take the apparatus out and fuss with the wiring, and turn it over, and connect it to the main apparatus--the one you usually look through when you get a regular vision check-up--and grumble about how the fuse might've been shorted, and tell me again that they almost never did this test anymore, and all the while I'm wondering what they're going to do to me, and if they're going to give me their names. Eventually the thing worked, and I looked at a series of lines, and then a series of lights and swimmy dots, and the doctor was very impressed and said my vision would be greatly improved with the surgery.

 Mmm, lattice degeneration

Mmm, lattice degeneration

I have "lattice degeneration" in my left eye, which makes me think of pie, so there is some risk to lasering anything off of it, and I also learned, at the appointment following this one with my regular ophthalmologist, that I have a cataract on my right eye, too, but she said we didn't need to worry about it right now. My regular ophthalmologist loves to tell me how old my eyes are. "You've got the eyes of an 85-year-old!" she gleefully exclaims. "Anyone else in your family have prematurely old eyes?" No, I tell her. I've been legally blind in my left eye for most of my life. I've fielded looks of confusion and distress about my eyes since I was a kid, from doctors who apparently like their young eyes young and their old eyes old. One time I read a study--small sample, so nothing we can claim as "fact"--about how first generation Americans seem predisposed to poor (or poorer than their genetics might suggest) vision, and also acne. I used to struggle with acne, too. Anyway. I'm getting the surgery, in April.