I visited my new ophhthphthalmologist* the other day, a diminutive but very sharp young woman named Dr. Hindman, and one result is that I have new glasses, which is nice. My vision had deteriorated to 20/60 uncorrected (good enough that I often don't bother with glasses). With my new glasses I'm 20/25, but I have a lot of flare in my right eye due to the onset of Fuch's Dystrophy. Apparently the imbalance of fluid in the cornea that is a hallmark of Fuch's has not even started; the flare is due to the fact that cells dropping out of the corneal endothelium acts like a screen with pinpoints in it, which is one way to make a soft filter. You might recall that Waterhouse stops for pictorialist lenses had rings of small secondary apertures to create "confusing" secondary images. Well, now I've got a soft filter in my eye, oh joy. My brain has adapted by seeing detail with the left eye augmented by binocular vision cues from the right eye, and with my new glasses I can see a gnat's whisker at forty paces. For my age, can't complain.
Incidentally, I hope I'm not giving away any trade secrets here**, but when the eye doctor gives you a prescription for glasses, the one parameter they don't give you is PD, or pupillary distance—the distance between the centers of your pupils. This is measured by the optician when you go to have your prescription filled and your glasses made. Nowadays you can order glasses online, from China, but you need your PD. Consequently, when you go to the optician, they measure your PD but they won't tell you what it is. Because otherwise you won't need to buy your glasses from them.
...With which I sympathize. Retail outlets of all sorts are getting slammed, and we need opticians—they're the only source of eye exams for millions of people and people need to have their eyes examined on a regular basis. Opticians are on the front lines for public eye health.
So I did both—I ordered two pairs of glasses (regular and prescription sunglasses) from my local optician (cost, $465, ouch), and one pair from Zenni Optical online (because I know my PD). Well, not only did the Chinese glasses cost much less—$54—but they arrived first. I'm still awaiting my glasses from the optician eight miles from my doorstep but I've been wearing my glasses that came all the way from China for two days already. It's none of my business, but it seems like my local retail opticians are gonna have to raise their game. Based on my big sample of one experience, but still.
As for my Fuch's, it appears that medical science has another ten years or so to continue improving partial cornea replacement surgery before I get to try it. As I said, oh joy.
*This is an approximation of the Word that Cannot Be Spelled.
**As David Vestal of revered memory used to say, when explaining why he never signed non-disclosure agreements, "I'm in the disclosure business."
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