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So better skip eye exams?





What eye exam(s) involve physical contact between the eyeball and a medical instrument? Or did a joke just go sailing over my head?

Checking eye pressure involves an instrument touching the eye, and is pretty routine.

My guy uses a machine that does a puff of air. I've never had my eyeball physically touched by anything at an ophthalmologists office.

Lucky you. I've had injections into my eyeball every few years due to a retina issue. Imagine a metal clip holding your eyelid open, and watching the tip of a hypodermic needle approaching your eyeball, held by an older ophthalmologist with shaky hands.

You don't ask your friends if that's normal, and never go back to that eye doctor?

Funny you mention that... He was the fourth ophthalmologist I went to complaining of difficulty seeing. The first three recommended reading glasses.

He, the fourth, was the only one that had me look at an Amsler Grid whereupon, for the first time, I realized my vision in one eye was completely warped. Turned out I had a big blister, more or less, behind my retina.

So, is he old with shaky hands? Yes. But, better an old shaky-handed doctor who knows what the hell he's doing than a young steady-handed doctor who knows nothing.

Pars Planitis is what it's called by the way. A shot of steroid into the back of the eyeball and the swelling -- and distorted visions -- disappears for 6 to 18 months. (You don't want to know how you get a needle into the BACK of the eyeball.... suffice to say, the shaky-handed doctor grabs your eyeball, rotates the shit out of it until you are staring into your own brain, and then jabs you with the needle... all the while saying comforting things like, "Don't move or you might go blind.")


It’s common when you have cornea issues and/or glaucoma or need more than basic laser eye surgery.

The shaky hands? When someone had a needle in your eye, that needle can move your eye in even the steadiest of hands.

My favorite was noticing how the needle had a metallic, rainbow pattern.


I remember having that done one too, so I looked into it more. There are two types of "tonometry machines", non-contact and contact. The contact tonometers indent your cornea to make measurements (after your eye has been given anesthetic drops). The non-contact "air puff" machines are more common, but apparently not as accurate.

So people who are inclined to avoid direct instrument-to-eye contact can request the "air puff" method.


My optometrist says there are newer and mores accurate methods that don’t require airpuff either, only imaging hardware. I can’t stand air puffs, so it was a relief to find one.

Thank you, my eye tests have always used the air puff.



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