Cheating at the eye doctor

eyechart_full_pageIs it possible that yesterday, I cheated at the eye doctor’s office?

I didn’t mean to … but boy, the eye doctor made it so easy.

I went to my ophthalmologist for my annual-ish check-up — basically solely for the purpose of ordering new contact lenses — and I sat on the chair, staring at the letters on the wall. With my contacts still in, the doctor’s assistant covered up one eye and asked me to read the letters. The first line was easy, as were the second and third; but by the fourth line, the tiny letters were getting harder to read.

“E … V … O … T,” I said.

On the next line — “S … I think it looks like a 7 … F … O.”

She covered up the other eye. Same story. I got to that tiny line of letters, and sure enough, it was E.V.O.T.

She flipped a few switches and played my favorite game, the “Is it better or smaller? Is it better 1 or 2? 3 or 4?” game. Each time, there it was: My good friend, E.V.O.T.

And then we played it again with my glasses. By this time, I almost didn’t need to even open my eyes. E.V.O.T.

I don’t want to cheat. I’d like my contacts and glasses to have the most accurate prescription possible. But my brain was no longer operating in “seeing” mode — it was operating in “memorizing” mode.

Dear eye doctors of the world: Can you help fix this? How hard would it be to show a line of text that is 15 letters long, and each time, you show me four new letters from the row?

I miss the days of kindergarten eye tests. We’d stare into a box, and the nurse would ask us, “Is the bunny inside the box or outside of the box?” Obviously I loved bunnies so I was excited to play this game accurately. “Is the dot red or green?” I also loved colors, so eye-testing day was pretty much my favorite.

Can’t they say, “Read these letters and make up a sentence with words that begin with those letters”? That would be really fun for me. “Sure!” I’d say. “Every volcano obeys turtles. Or, better yet, even velvet often tears.”

But, alas, I memorized the letters. I’m hoping it doesn’t cause too much long-term damage to my vision. I seem to be typing this and looking at my screen with no problem. Oh well. Everyone’s vision’s only temporary.


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