Blinded by the Bright

Yesterday, I went for my annual eye doctor appointment. This is my first annual appointment in about eight years. I plan on making it a more regular occurrence. I also plan on flossing every day like I tell the dentist, so that should tell you something about my planning processes. Actually, my planning is great. Follow through, not so good.

My doctor was very thorough. He checked my eyes for glaucoma, floaters, boaters and something called retinal scaring. Then he shined a really bright light in my eye and claimed to be looking at the inside of my eyeball. I don’t know what he hoped to see. He did wave at something at one point. I presume it was a floater or boater or maybe an alien parasite that helps me see the invisible white boards I use to work on my stories. Just kidding about the alien parasite in my eyes. I know they hide right behind the frontal lobe in my brain according to an MRI from 2014.

As if it wasn’t bad enough to try and blind me with a 50,000-watt light, he put some drops in my eyes. The first one, he said may cause “a slight burning sensation”. He was right. It caused a slight burning sensation in the same way being thrown into the mouth of a volcano may cause a slight burning sensation. I tried to be calm, cool and collected as I asked, “What the hell did you put my eye, you sadist!!!” Okay, I didn’t really say it like that. What I said I can’t really put in my blog and still keep it PG-13. He assured me that he was not trying to harm me, he did not plan to have sexual intercourse with himself, and that his parents were indeed married at the time of his birth. Then he explained the second set of drops would really hurt if he hadn’t inflicted that level of pain to numb my eyeballs. I thanked him for his kindness and let him put the second drops in my eyes.

If you have never had your eyes dilated, let me explain what happens. After that second set of drops, you need to wait ten to fifteen minutes. After that time, your eyes are all black with no trace of the irises making you look like a possessed serial killer who is being slowly driven mad by the painful attacks of photons from any light source. Seriously. A candle is like looking into the sun. It’s as painful as poking a sharp stick in a tender eyeball while your brother laughs as you jump around, screaming and threaten to tell mom about the Playboys he hides under the dresser. (Yes, mom, they were my brother’s no matter what he says.)

The doctor then takes you back into the dimly lit exam room which appears as bright as the surface of the sun thanks to your newly opened irises. He then (if you are squeamish, stop reading now) shines another light right into your eyes while calming discussing innocuous topics like the weather, the latest football game and why the drops he put in your eyes are banned by the Geneva convention as cruel and unusual punishment.

When he is all done torturing you, he tells you everything looks good and you are free to go as long as you do not drive, read, watch TV, or do anything that requires you to look through your now painful eyes. He even gives you a piece of plastic to put over your eyes so the sunlight won’t hurt as much. It doesn’t help. I had two of the plastic pieces, a pair of dark Ray Bans, and closed eyelids. I could still see the sun perfectly through all that and most reinforced walls.

By bedtime, my eyes were back to normal. Sadly, when I needed to see without light, my eyes were too tired from seeing all the light in the universe. I went to bed and slept well.

On an unrelated topic, I have an idea for a new telescope that uses a new technique to see the inside of black holes throughout the universe.