Getting the eyes checked: Tick

13 09 2010

PhotobucketThe eyes are sooo important. I needed a contacts lens checkup and popped into my optician this morning. It’s Tricky Dicky Time.  Today was a different experience with my new cochlear implant. (It’s still a baby, so it’s still new and exciting.)

I was annoyed with the horrible music they were playing in the shop – I had never noticed this before.

In the examination room, I picked up the loud hum of the air conditioning unit (I had never noticed this before either) and changed my cochlear implant setting to ClearVoice high, which cut out the hum. Now I could more clearly focus on the optician’s voice. She started talking and turning around so I told her I need to lipread. From then on, everything went swimmingly.

The equipment for the checkup is straight out of the control room in Star Trek. A huge pair of ‘glasses’ is swung from the wall to the front of my face and I fit my chin on the chin rest. I peep through the holes and I can see the optician’s face through one tiny round window, then the other. I am asked to say which letters I can see on the wall chart, then if green and red look the same on the wall, do the letters look sharper or not as she switches lenses.

Then we get to the ever-tricky part. She needs to look at the internal health of my eyes. To do this, she needs to switch off the light, and then I’m rendered unconscious incommunicado.  During this checkup, I always find it tricky as I am unable to either hear the optician tell me what to do or to lipread instructions in the dark – ‘Look up’, ‘Look straight ahead’ etc. I have devised coping strategies for this. I always remind them of my need for visual clues and at the same time as giving me instructions, they will point when telling me where to look during the checkup. Luckily, there is just enough light to see their finger point the way.

Today, however, I discovered I could hear *and understand* what she said in the dark. It made the experience much easier, quicker, and less stressful. Another little step up the cochlear implant staircase of progress! Whoo Hoo!



5 responses

13 09 2010

I have the same problem so I can relate. Another hidden benefit of the CI!

14 09 2010

Oh yeah, know exactly what you mean. “Once you turn the lights out I can’t hear you. You understand that, right?”.”Oh, okay”. Then they turn the lights out and start explaining what they want you to do. Couple more months and I’ll be having my eyes checked. Hope I do better with the Ci.

15 09 2010

I sometimes make people laugh when I say “I can’t hear in the dark”. They laugh but they don’t really get the point.

I have to get my eyes tested annually because my father had glaucoma and sometimes it is hereditary. So far I have shown no signs of it but I still have to drag myself to the opticians for a very boring hour once a year.
Which reminds me I’ve skipped it so far this year…

The dark thing really gets on my nerves. Rather than say “I can’t hear you ” 1000 times my strategy is that if people speak to me in the dark or off to one side where I can’t see, I just ignore them.
When they see they are not getting any results they become a bit more helpful and it saves me the hassle of driving myself nuts.
One optician I went to was very nice but gradually became rather patronising. I really hate being patronised and so I didn’t go back to that opticians again! The following year I went to a different optician and this one was male. He just couldn’t seem to catch on to the idea that I was unable to understand him in the dark!
In fact he started getting rather bad tempered and grumpy. Well I’m sixty one years old. I can do grumpy, trust me. So we had a slightly bad tempered session that year!
Since then I managed to appear on the front page of the local paper wearing my Deaf Campaigner’s Hat and the opticians have been more considerate. Such is fame! So gradually I have educated them and I hope they retain that knowledge and benefit the other deaf people in town.

17 09 2010

I think it’s great you are writing about your journey! I have a CI and recently started to blog myself. I added a link to your blog–hope you don’t mind! Check it out –>
Have a great day!

18 10 2010

Tina, thanks for stopping by my blog! I had no idea you used to live in Chicago — that’s really cool! 🙂

I just had to comment on this post because my first eye exam after I went deaf and then got my CIs was terrifying. Well, I should clarify — I was terrified to actually go, but the experience itself was fine (I wrote about it too, LOL — GMTA!)

Anyway, my vision is so bad without contact lenses/glasses that I have trouble lipreading even in full light (before they turn lights out for the exam part). I can’t really see faces well without my contacts…they are just a blur. My doctor was so funny — he had his face just a couple inches from mine so that I could see him to lipread. He was very good-natured about it, thankfully. 🙂

BTW, Toby says hello to Smudge, his UK twin!!

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