Back at Dr. Chen’s

I have been wearing glasses since the 5th grade, and have been through the developing technology of contact lenses for the past 50 years. I now have extended wear disposable contacts which I love. Contrary to Dr. Chen’s recommendation and in line with the manufacturer’s, I often sleep with them in place. Dr. C wants me to take them out every night, something I did for years and years. It is a mild inconvenience which I don’t wish to impose upon myself. We have reached a compromise in that I do remove them a couple of times a week to give my eyes a little more oxygen, and have switched to a very aggressive hydrogen peroxide cleaner that bubbles and fizzes away the gunk.

I usually visit her once a year in September for my annual check up. That’s when I snapped the first photo. Clearly, this woman has had her fill of waiting for the day.

In February of this year, I developed a strange bump on one of my eyes, and off to Dr. Chen I went. It was sun damage caused by years of outdoor exposure. After some antibiotic drops and a break from my contact lenses, it subsided. While I was waiting for her, I took the second picture of a new patient filling out the first visit paperwork.

 

Waiting for the Optician (or someone like him)

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Friedman Optical, Culver City. March 2014

When I was working full time for a major post-production facility, one of the benefits was full medical insurance including optical. The photo is of the last time I visited this optician with my insurance for my free eye exam and pair of glasses. With the loss of my ‘vision’ insurance, I now see an ophthalmologist for my eye-care needs which is covered by my current medical insurance. I buy the glasses and the packs of contacts at Costco.

I began wearing glasses at age 10 when I realized that by squinting, the writing on the blackboard at school became clearer. In high school I sported old fashioned wire rimmed spectacles with rose-tinted lenses. I looked like a cross between Jerry Garcia and John Lenon. Later I graduated to soft contact lenses which gave me my peripheral vision back, it was nearly as much a revelation as when I put on glasses for the first time and the world snapped into clear focus.

For the past many years I have worn “disposable” lenses which advertise the ability to sleep with them in. One of the things I hated about contact lenses, in fact the only downside, is having to take them out and fuss with them. In the early days, we would have to remove them nightly, put them into a special appliance and disinfect them by heating. What a royal pain.

Now, with this latest breakthrough in optical science, I could go for weeks without having to touch them; my ophthalmologist was horrified to learn that. She has gradually convinced me to take them out every couple of days to clean and disinfect with a new all-in-one solution. No heat necessary.