… Does that seem better…or worse? : a trip to the optician.

“Can you read the top line for me?”

“There are lines?”

“On the chart in front of you.”

“Chart, you say?”

Yes, folks.  This month I’ve needed to visit the optician.

And like the blind leading the blind, or at very least the highly myopic leading the partially sighted, I had to bring the boy along with me for his eye test.

They say a boy’s first hero is always his father, because he sees him as invincible and infallible.

Thankfully I’ve managed to dispel that myth for the boy some years ago, by being both highly fallible and deeply, deeply vincible on a repeated basis.

I was not acing this eye test.

It wasn’t even the first time that day I’d let the boy down. 

On the way out of the house I had to disappoint him that we weren’t going out just to see someone with a sunny disposition and positive view of life.  Though that would have been lovely.

It took me a while to work that one out.

The boy had recently been taught at school about the difference between an “optometrist and a pessimist”.

But we digress.

“Which of the two circles seems clearer?”

“Are you asking me does the red seem redder than the green seems green?  Because I don’t think I’m going to get my head round the philosophy of that one, let alone the optics.”

The boy’s level of respect for me drops two lines on the chart to somewhere between tiny and invisible. He wills me on in the next event.

“What size of print is it easiest to read?  Dr Brown?  Dr Brown!  I’m over here!”


“Can you see any numbers hidden in the pictures of blobs that look like a lava lamp that’s been dropped?”

No again.

“Can you keep a straight face and not get the giggles when I come REALLY close up to examine the backs of your eyes?”

Nope.  Never have.

Rather than giving up, and giving me details for white sticks and Labrador retrievers (much to the boy’s further disappointment), she suggests I need a change in the strength of my glasses.  It seems the nice ladies and gentlemen of the Hubble Space Telescope have a couple of lenses that might just do the job.

“Would you like to take a look at the frames while you wait?”


She hands my specs to the – I don’t know what his job title is – glasses guy? –  and gestures to a wall of frames.

Just like shoes or jeans, my problem is that the ones I like the most, which are the most comfortable and best fitting, are the ones I already have.

I’m rubbish at choosing glasses, but I try.

They all look much the same to me.

“Are fuzzy glasses in fashion this year?”


“All the glasses seem to be furry”

He hands me my glasses back. 


The problem now is I have to wear my old glasses to see my reflection in the mirror while wearing the new glasses.  But no pair of specs looks at its best if worn diagonally over the top of another pair, which re-enforces the idea that my current ones are best.

If I go really close to the mirror, wrinkle my nose up, and squint my eyes really tightly I can just about see what the new glasses might look like on a weasel.  But it’s never flattering.

I mutter a promise to return with Mrs Dr Brown so we can offer a slightly more helpful response next time.

I sheepishly make for the door. 

But the boy’s spirits seem brighter.  Some of the pride is back.

“I like it here.  I might be an optician when I grow up.”

“That’s an excellent idea.” I say, keen to encourage anything other than overweight, stressed-out NHS GP.  “It’s good to be ambitious.”

“Mummy says you should always reach for the stars.”

“Well, if you really think reaching for the stars seems practical, can I recommend we pick you out something from their bifocal range?”

The optometrist overhears.

“Dr Brown?”


“Please leave.”

One thought on “… Does that seem better…or worse? : a trip to the optician.

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