I Survived My First Trip to the Eye Doctor (Barely)

a-clockwork-orange-501172lUntil today, I had never had an appointment with an eye doctor. I’ve had 20/20 vision my entire life and no serious eye injuries, so I never needed to go.

So when I got something in my eye last week that I couldn’t locate after several days of discomfort, I decided to take the plunge and go to the eye doctor.

Needless to say, I was quite nervous. I do NOT like the idea of someone touching my eye, putting drops in my eye, or messing with my eye in any way. So I thought I’d share how I imaged the visit going today, followed by how it actually went.


DOCTOR: Hi, I’m Dr. Optical Knife. What brings you to the eye doctor today?

ME: Well, I’ve had something in my eye for about a week now.

DOCTOR: Let’s take a look. Nurse, can you bring in the harness?

(nurse wheels in elaborate gurney)

DOCTOR: Okay, we need to strap you into this archaic apparatus. There you go. Now bite down on this bit–it’s the same type horses wear. There you go, good boy.

ME (thrashing around, snarling)

DOCTOR (peeling my eyelids back with a prong): Okay, I’m just going to drop some liquid in your eye that will temporarily blind you and leave you impotent for 12-14 weeks. Hold still.

ME (growling and straining against the harness)

DOCTOR: Now I need to take this needle and put it very close to your eye. (offers no other explanation)

NURSE: I’ll prepare the vacuum.

DOCTOR: Thank you. Mr. Stegmaier, we’re going to remove your eye to get a better look at it. This is standard procedure for any visit to the eye doctor. You’ll feel a slight pinch.

ME (gets an arm free, makes a dash for the exit)

DOCTOR: Nurse! We’ve got a runner!

NURSE (tases me in the neck, drags me back to the room): Got him. Proceed with extraction.

DOCTOR (examining the eye): Mr. Stegmaier, your eye is fine–the slight discomfort you’ve felt over the last week was your imagination. However, it looks like your vision has dipped slightly below 20/20, which means you have to wear contacts from now on.

ME: Noooooooo!

DOCTOR: We’re going to end this visit by sedating you and returning you to your home. When you wake up, you’ll have a slight headache and no memory of this visit, like in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Thanks for coming!


Those are pretty much all of my worst fears of going to the eye doctor. Here’s how it actually happened:

I was tested for vision, and it’s still 20/20. The doctor did put some drops in my eye (which I fought off a little bit, but not too much), shined some bright lights at me, and peeled up my eyelid, but it wasn’t too bad.

He couldn’t find any foreign bodies, BUT he said he could see there was irritation, source unknown. So he gave me some mild anti-flammatory eye drops.

Has anyone else never been to the eye doctor? Is this how you picture it happening?

Click here and scroll down for other heroic tales of survival.

11 thoughts on “I Survived My First Trip to the Eye Doctor (Barely)”

  1. I’ve worn glasses since I was little (up until I got Lasik a few years back).. Early on, I tried contacts.. My eye doctor had the BIGGEST HANDS/FINGERS I’VE EVER SEEN. Imagine giant sausage fingers trying to put a little contact into your eye.. It was pretty awful.

    Not sure it’s related, but I never was able to get comfortable with contacts……

    • Jason: Ha ha, thanks for sharing. It does seem like a profession better handled by people with small, slender fingers.

  2. My mom has been in the eyecare business for 35 years, but I’ve only had to do standard vision tests where you cover one eye and read letters from the chart. My vision is excellent, so like you, I’ve never had anything invasive done.

    From the stories I’ve heard around the dinner table, I’m pretty sure they save the harness and eye extraction for your second visit. Beware, Jamey.

      • I’m sure someone has escaped from her clutches at least once!

        Actually I sent this to her to read for a chuckle, and she replied, “Guys are much more sensitive at the eye doctor – I’ve seen them faint and everything. I think women are better because we’re used to touching around our eyes for eye makeup, etc. Most guys are terrible about anyone getting near their eyes.”

        However, I’m sure that JT’s stories would be tortuous to anyone no matter their gender! One big NOPE after another!

  3. About ten years ago I had these flashes in my – ‘ocular migraines’ they were called. Turns out the cause was a torn retina. I had to see an Opthalmic Surgeon, who put three kinds of drops in my eye, dimmed the lights, shined the brightest freaking green laser into my eye to get a look, and then proceeded to poke me with something like a thick q-tip to get my eye into the right position. He then said “yes, we’ll have to do surgery. Are you available tomorrow or Thursday?” GAAAK!!!

    The surgery only took 10 mintues. I remember none of it but was awake the entire time. When i was wheeled in I remember feeling drowsy from the sedative and asking the nurse to put on some Pink Floyd as she was administering the memory blocker. I wasn’t strapped in, but when I was wheeled out, with something like a dixie cup over my eye, I was strapped in. They told me I kept trying to get up and saying “I have to give Mike that report.”

    The follow-up the next week was just like the first consultation … except he brought students from Wash U. Each of them, in turn, shined the freaking green laser into my dilated eye and shoved my eyeball around with the q-tip. And when I say “shoved around” i mean stuck the thing into my eye socket (through the skin outside the epithelial fold) and pushed my eye until they could see the scar where the doctor had used a real laser to seal up the retinal tear. Think when you have a slightly-deflated volleyball and you stick your finger really hard into one part of it. That was my eye in the hands of the optometry students.

    There, now go enjoy your lunch, Jamey.

    • JT: These are terrifying stories (like, for real, it’s hard to read these without wincing). Now I’m never going back to the eye doctor.

  4. OH OH! Here’s another one. So I started seeing double in my left eye three summers ago when it was crazy dry outside. The doctor said it was that I had a bump on my eye caused by a fold in the underlying layer, something called the anterior basement membrane. I’m not making this up. He prescribed a combination of a heavy, thick paste to put in my eye and an eyedrop to use after. The paste was mostly salt, to dry out the eye and make the layers want to regenerate and replace themselves, and the eyedrops to re-wet because it doesn’t feel good putting freaking salt paste in your eye. I had to do this twice a day.

    After a year, it wasn’t getting any better and he was talking surgery – ie, cut off the cornea and let it grow back. NOOOOOOOOOO. Instead we settled on a high-fallutin eyedrop that costs $500 for a 3-month supply (though he once got a pharma rep drunk and the rep admitted that you could extend the eyedrop for twice its usable length if the vials stayed clean). So I’ve been putting those eyedrops in for about three years now.

    Again, enjoy your lunch, Jamey.

  5. Wow, I haven’t had that happen but my mom’s purse was stolen some time ago. That was heartbreaking. I have to say something though, the picture from Clockwork Orange is all sorts of creepy. I realize that was the intent but ick. LOL That movie is a bit worse than what seems to have transpired. =p


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