Just Shelley

Do it yourself eye prescription

I’ve not had the best of luck finding new healthcare in Savannah. My dentist is good, but my vision exam was not. When I had a bad fall on both knees earlier, I made an appointment with an orthopedist in Richmond Hill, only to find out the doctor doesn’t work in that office. This, even though his web site states this is where he works. I just let my knees heal on their own.

But back to that eye exam…

I’ve not had drops in my eyes for an exam for decades, as I don’t deal well with the drops or with people coming all that close to my eyes. But the place I went to didn’t even allow me to discuss this with the optometrist, as the medical assistant jammed the drops into my eyes, practically holding me down and prying my eyes open.

Sure enough, when it came time for the refraction exam, it didn’t go that well. Drops make my eyes blurry. How can you determine which is better, A or B, when all are equally blurry?

The new prescription ended up being a puzzle because the optometrist wrote it out with a positive cylinder value, leading to a vastly different result for my left eye, which hasn’t suffered any degradation in vision. A little Google sleuthing and I discovered you typically only see positive cylinder values when an old time ophthalmologist does an eye exam, because the cylinder has to be converted to a negative value for the prescription. Once I converted the prescription, the left eye’s vision was the same.

The problem really is the right eye. It’s been off for some time, and very blurry with my existing prescription. Yes, it is true that I have the beginnings of a cataract in both eyes, but not enough to really impact on vision. The new prescription showed that I have the same prescription for both right and left, and same cylinder, but the right eye is much weaker, more off, than the left.

I ordered a pair of glasses from an online shop and when I received them, I wasn’t surprised to find that the vision in the right hadn’t improved nearly enough. It’s still blurry, still feels off. I tried them for over a month, and my eyesight just didn’t improve.

I wasn’t going back to the original optometrist, and I had my ‘free’ eye exam for the year (2021). I’m not that concerned about cost, but I’m just not into struggling to find healthcare, yet again, in Savannah.

Instead, I did the geeky thing. I ordered an EyeQue vision test device. I did an eye test at home, just like in the 1895 Sears Catalog, with its complimentary eye exam to find the right eye glasses to order. However,  instead of paper, my device utilized my smartphone.

The device is not the easiest to figure out how to use. It took me some time to discover that you have to tilt the device until you see both a green and red bar, that looking straight into the device doesn’t work for everyone. And getting the phone app to change to the next test required the absolute right sequence and finger pressure. Once I had all this down, though, it was a piece of cake.

(Kind of stale cake at that point, but whatevs.)

I didn’t take one test. I actually took ten separate tests. The app summarizes all of the tests into your new prescription.

Again, very little change for my left eye. A slight change in the axis, but not enough to really matter that much. It’s the right eye that changed from the prescription the optometrist gave me. Not hugely, but a difference.

Where before both eyes had a spherical value of -3.00, now my right had a value of -3.25. And both cylinders were -.50 with the optometrist prescription, but my right eye was -.75 with the EyeQue test.

I ordered the exact same glasses (progressive) from the eye place, but with the new prescription. It’s an improvement. It’s not a perfect improvement, but will do until I can go to a different optometrist in a few months time.

The concept of a do-it-yourself eye test at home is a good one. We may only need to see an eye doctor every couple of years to check the health of our eyes, but our prescriptions can change in the meantime. The EyeQue people are on the right track. The device isn’t without bugs, but they’re already at work on version 2. And if the price isn’t too high, I’ll probably give that one a shot, too.