Doctor my eyes.

Are all eye-doctors a little crazy? Is there something about spending most of your work day in a dark little room with your face three inches from someone you just met 30 seconds ago that eventually makes you turn into some sort of white-coated psychopath who wants to collect skin suits? Or is that creepiness factor the main reason you became an eye doctor to begin with? I'm just curious because it seems like every time I get my eyes checked at a Lenscraft or a Dinapoli because I can't get into see my regular eye doctor, I end up with one of these fruit loops.

The dude who ended up doing my exam looked like a 60-year-old version of John Denver, including the "rocky mountain high" part. He kept making stupid jokes and then chuckling at them, which really didn't do much for my confidence in his professional abilities.

At one point he said, "Wouldn't you like to see better, Johnny? Wouldn'tcha? I'll bet you would. I can do that for you!" Then he laughed like a mad god. Or like Willy Wonka. Actually, maybe that's the same thing.

A little while later, as I was sitting comfortably with my left ankle resting on my right knee, looking through the machine at some light he was blinding me with, he leaned in whispered, "Put your legs to either side and let me slide in there." I felt so dirty, but I did what he asked. After all, he was paying for it. No wait, that's not right. I was paying for it. Dammit.

Anyway, all I wanted was for him to get on with the exam because I was on my lunch hour and quickly running out of time. Also, his breath smelled like he had pastrami and coffee for lunch, and I was sick of breathing that shit in. Since his face was so close to mine, it was still warm when I smelled it. After the first couple of times he exhaled directly into my nasal cavity I started holding my breath. I'm sure the stars I was seeing from the oxygen deprivation helped the accuracy of my test results.

The entire procedure was a comedy of errors, but I walked out of there with a piece of paper that I could barely read that had something approximating my presciption written on it. There are few things about this piece of paper that I immediately realized:

1. I'm old. I need both reading glasses and driving glasses. In other words, bi-focals. I'm just going to find an old pilled-up grey cardigan and start wearing it to work with my polyester slacks. I'm thinking I'll get one of those fake gold chains to hold my spectacles, too. Maybe a fedora.

2. The results are based on crap. He was constantly asking me questions like, "Which is better? A.....(flick) or B?" and they were both exactly the fuck the same. "Uh...they look exactly the same," I say. So he says, "Which is better? A.............(flick) or B?" like I didn't hear him the first time. After he flips it back and forth three more times, each time asking me the same question (only with longer pauses between the words, like I have suddenly become Norwegian and don't have a firm grasp of the English language), I just pick one randomly, because that's the only thing I can do to get out of that Groundhog Day pastrami loop from hell. I also loved the question "Are the letters clearer or just darker and slightly farther away?" WTF.

3. It's going to cost me an ass-ton of money. I looked around at the frames they had available and the prices on them started at $400 and went up from there. That's before they even have lenses in them. The thing I don't understand about this racket is that the frames don't seem to be any better in quality than the ones on my $20 dollar sun glasses. The reason I was in there to begin with was because I was cleaning my glasses and the weld between the lens and the nose piece broke. That's bullshit, right there, considering those were $200 frames and my $20 sunglasses are still going strong. Also, if you don't want the old lady bi-focals, you have to spring for these progressive lenses which run about $700 bucks without the frames. I still haven't gone back to pick out glasses yet, due to the sticker shock and the pastrami. I mean, holy hell. That's halfway to laser eye surgery. Maybe I'll just squint for another 6 months and save up some more money for that.

I'm thinking of trying one of those internet places where you can pick out frames, input your prescription and your pupil to pupil measurements, and they make the glasses and send them to you -- all for about $60. I'll probably end up looking like this:

It worked for my replacement hot tub cover is all I'm saying.

[update: Just as an experiment, I ordered a couple of pairs from Zenni. One pair of progressives and one pair of single script sunglasses. Total cost: $80.75. I'll keep you posted.] *update* - I cancelledthe Zenni order because they were on a slow boat from china and ordered from 39dollareyeglasses.com instead. They weren't 39 dollars, but I did get brand name progressives for about a hundred bucks.


  1. Okay, I haven't laughed that hard out loud in a long time. You are f-in high-larious there. I knew there was a reason I kept your blog as a must read. :-)
    I am still chuckling now. I have to pass this link on... thanks for the great memory.

  2. rick lee9:17 PM

    If I might make a suggestion: Skip the bifocals and just buy five pairs of 1 or 1.25 power reading glasses at the dollar store. Keep a pair wherever you might need them. The frames seem to be the same as the $200 frames at the eye store, and are easier to read with than bifocals. Buy two pairs of glasses for distance, one of them a comfortable pair of sunglasses. Look for a store that has a two for one deal.

  3. Sheesh...remind me to never move to New York. Glasses here are way less expensive. Hooray for the sticks!

  4. *snort laff* @ Groundhog Day Pastrami Loop

  5. Get the lasix surgery! Best thing I ever did.

  6. My eye doctor is 29, slim, gorgeous, has a mega-watt smile, large breasts and a fantastic sense of humor. But eye glasses are just as expensive here, so some things are the same.

  7. zennioptical.com

    1. I got a full pair of glasses, SHIPPED, for $8. The prescription is.. blatantly wrong, but they're backups for my contacts. If I really have a problem with one of my contacts/eyes, I'll usually just wear one contact for a while.

    2. You can possibly take your favorite frames (from sunglasses or whatever) and just have them (or another place) put the lenses in.

    3. You can bifocal contacts, I've been told (different Rx in each eye??). It'd require a prescription *for contacts* because it's not the same as for glasses, but then get some awesome contacts. The ones I fell in love with (and subsequently vetoed LASIK for) were 02 Optix, which I wear for two weeks straight. Don't take them out (tho you're supposed to after 6 days, for a night). They're quite delightful.

    Just some things to consider

  8. Eye surgery is great, but it won't correct for age so you'll still likely need reading glasses - which you can pick up cheap at any drug store.

  9. MTB, thanks!

    rick, the problem I have with those is that I don't really need them yet, and I have astigmatisms in both eyes which they don't correct for. My shortest focal length without straining my eyes is about 12", so it's mostly the computer and long distance that I have a problem with.

    DA, do they look like the glasses on that sexual predator in the picture?

    Steve, I'm thinking about it. Lasix and a pair of glasses for the computer if I need them, which I may not.

    Powder, where is your eye doctor? I will fly there if necessary.

    Xilo, if they are blatantly wrong, then that's probably not the way to go...I wonder if there are any reputable places out there.

    Jen, it's the astigmatisms that are the issue for me...

  10. Dude!

    1. You are hilarious.
    2. I got TWO pairs of glasses from Zenni Optical (online) for a grand total of $50 including shipping -- one is single vision and one is old-school bifocals because progressives make me want to die -- and they are PERFECT. I'm actually going to order a few more pairs of single vision glasses from them, just to have. And then use the 4/$20 reading glasses from Sam's Club for reading.

  11. Is that dude in the picture Steve from "Blue's Clues"?

  12. “Then he laughed like a mad god.”

    “A little while later, as I was sitting comfortably with my left ankle resting on my right knee, looking through the machine at some light he was blinding me with, he leaned in whispered, "Put your legs to either side and let me slide in there."

    “… because that's the only thing I could do to get out of that Groundhog Day pastrami loop from hell.”

    It's little golden nuggets like this that keep me coming back for more. Love the blog!

  13. I'm still rocking the Lisa Loeb look I've had for six years because I'm dreading this enterprise. But I know I need to go.

  14. David8:52 AM

    Being in the vision-afflicted over 40 group, I wore mono-vision contacts happily for some years. (one eye for distance, one eye for closeup)

    Then allergy meds dried my eyes out so I got mono-vision lasik surgery and am happy as can be. I do have a pair of glasses that makes the distance eye into closeup if I'm doing extended reading but I'm fine without them 95+ % of the time.

  15. Matt M8:53 AM

    25 years ago I had THOSE GLASSES. Big, clunky, got eyebrow grease on them whenever I wore them. I also had a heinous mustache.

    Why do we have such bad taste when we are young?

  16. "Put your legs to either side and let me slide in there."...OMG! I actually *snorted* on that one--got some curious looks from my co-workers, but that's not really all that unusual for me.

    Besides, what good is a laugh if there isn't a snort in there? And tears? Thanks for ruining my make-up JV. :-)

  17. I've been suffering from horrible migraines for about a year now - and made the HORRIBLE mistake of mentioning that to my Eye Doctor. Imagine the Pastrami and Coffee for SIX HOURS. I think he was really upset that he didn't find some horrible disease behind my eyeball...At the end of the day he was all "Well...damn....I guess your eyes are okay..." And by the way - I'll send you my old frames. You may end up looking like a pussy - but it'll just cost you about $4 bucks for shipping...Nevermind, I'll pay for that just to have you wear my old glasses.

  18. JV, well, welcome to the group. Bi-focals are for wimps. Go for tri. I get lined also, talk that over with your regular eye-care person.
    My eye doc is about 40, tall, nice, nice bod, smells of nice perfume...tells me to relax while she "does all the work"....

  19. Jen A.10:02 AM

    That was seriously funny and frighteningly true. Last time I went to the eye doctor (Target optical) was about a year ago. Scared the crap out of me when he pulled my lower eye lid down and stuck his finger in my eye to remove my contact for me! Ugh! And without even wearing gloves - no warning at all. I was so shocked I didn't even say anything. Of course, when I got home I thought of all sorts of things I could have said.

  20. Dude, if you buy them glasses right there, you'll have to buy the matching creep-ass van with no windows. Also, shave the rest of the facial hair, leaving only a hint of a mustache.

  21. Anonymous11:35 AM

    I need tri-focals but opted for three separate pairs of glasses. Many places will allow you to bring in frames you buy at CVS and have prescription lenses put into them. They don't advertise that, of course! Then again, I like old lad glasses.

  22. Anonymous11:36 AM

    lady, not lad.

  23. one eye doctor appointment turned into a battery of peripheral vision tests, annoying pupil dilation and an mri. all because one doctor thought i had a swollen optic nerve, and, therefore, a brain tumor. the doctor brought in a second doctor to take a look at my eyes and they talked about it amongst themselves as if i wasn't even in the room! needless to say, there was no tumor and every time i've been to an eye doctor since then i ask how my optic nerve looks and they all say it's fine. they must think i'm crazy.

  24. Do I have to say I'm sorry you went through this creepy experience in order to be able to see...and to provide me with quite a few laughs? No. Whew, thanks.

  25. My wife is a huge fan, and I've gotten hooked as well. Nice post, keep up the good work.

  26. I worship at the church of Zenni Optical and they've never done me wrong.

  27. That may be the first time a post has made me laugh out loud AND barf in my own mouth...at the same time. Yeah, not hot. But great stuff, dude.

  28. Ya know what it's like when some hums a song or makes a reference to it and it's stuck in your head all day long?

    Doctor, my eyes have seen the years
    And the slow parade of fears without crying
    Now I want to understand
    I have done all that I could
    To see the evil and the good without hiding
    You must help me if you can
    Doctor, my eyes
    Tell me what is wrong
    Was I unwise to leave them open for so long
    'Cause I have wandered through this world
    And as each moment has unfurled
    I've been waiting to awaken from these dreams
    People go just where there will
    I never noticed them until I got this feeling
    That it's later than it seems
    Doctor, my eyes
    Tell me what you see
    I hear their cries
    Just say if it's too late for me
    Doctor, my eyes
    Cannot see the sky
    Is this the prize for having learned how not to cry

  29. Mmk WAS going to go to one of those places for contacts, strictly for the color since I don't need a prescription yet... I've changed my mind.

    However, I think you would rock a fedora.

  30. It doesn't matter what glasses you get; as long as you're not wearing black knee socks with shorts, you won't look old. And $400 for frames - wtf? Don't you have wal-mart or Costco up there? Maybe you should just look into an eyeball transplant...

  31. I had an eye doctor once that I first saw at the mall. Young, relatively hot, large-breasted, etc. A few years later she had a practice in the heart of the hood, putting glasses on kids for Medicaid money. She was still wearing the same clothes from a decade before.

    Also, got tired of messing with expense and hassle and astigmatism and had the laser surgery. I have to keep about a dozen pairs of readers scattered around the house, but they are $20 at Walgreens. It's a hassle, but I LOVE not having to wear glasses outdoors.

  32. My last visit at Sears, I had some jeebus freak optician who wanted to pray over me after the exam due to my recent breast cancer diagnosis. All's well with that, have finished radiation, but WTF? The prayer went on longer than the eye exam. I'll take the tip about Zenni and go there next time. All I gotta do now is find a new optician...

  33. My husband's glasses broke the exact same way while we were on vacation. We took them to a Greek jeweler in the mall, who laser-soldered them for $25. Good as new and can't hardly see the fix.

    Every optician I've been to talked like Ben Stein. And even beyond that, they were ALL weird.

  34. Badger, good to hear. Hopefully I'll have good luck too.

    BG, no it's a comedian and that's from a fake commercial he did called "Rapist Glasses". I didn't want to post the whole thing cuz I don't think rape is funny. The glasses however are pretty damn funny.

    Sarah, thanks!

    SM, there's nothing wrong with lisa loeb.

    David, that sounds cool. I have a lasik eval appointment next month.

    Matt, did they have white tape on them somewhere?

    Jae, you're welcome.

    Minivan, let's see a picture of them.

    Ray, I probably need tri...

    Jen, ewwww. squirmy.

    Heather, I had the porn stache when I was about 19. Not a good look.

    AG, you have the benefit of a purse to carry them all around in! Plus I'm sure you rock the old lady glasses.

    marianne, glad your optic nerve is all cool.

    Babs, are the glasses you're wearing in your profile pic from there? I don't think they'd look good on me.

    Nat, it's a surprisingly common combination.

    SweetB, I hate you. I do. I had just gotten that song out of my head from when I titled the post, and here you come driving it back home again. I'll be singing it under my breath for a week.

    Alex, I'll have to start wearing one around and see what happens.

  35. Eazymoney12:15 PM

    Go with the lasic... I did mine almost two years ago. Once its done you'll be wondering why you didn't have it done a long time ago. I don't need reading glasses for the computer. Just sun glasses for outside.

  36. Meh.

    In our line of work JV, all you'reall need to do is invest in two things:

    A prescription windshield for your car, and a prescription screen cover for your computer.

    Who needs anything else?

    If you're going to invest the cash, just make sure that it's going somewhere you'll actually need it!

    Then do all of your driving in that one car, and all of your reading from the computer.

    You're set, and don't have to pay another dime.

    Case closed. My retainer fee will be forthcoming.

  37. I've bought glasses on the 'net from Eyeglassesdirect.com, and have been very happy. These weren't bullshit glasses, either. I got flexible titanium frames, super-thin high-refractive index lenses, progressive bifocals, tint, and some sort of impervious coating. I think I paid a little over $200, but the same ones from Lenscrafters would have run $800 easy.

  38. A Jon Lajoie reference! Nice!

  39. You should prob go to another doc. Those results couldn't possibly be accurate with all the eye watering and breath holding. I would have run the hell out at "let me slide in there"!

  40. this part right here:

    "Put your legs to either side and let me slide in there."

    i lost.

  41. Anonymous5:14 PM

    Hey JV ,

    I just bought a pair of glasses from glassesunlimited.com -- the selection isn't the greatest, but I need distance glasses and I got my single lens prescription, plus shipping for under 15 bucks.

    I've heard eyebuywear.com is pretty good, too... but I haven't tried them. I absolutely LOVED my glasses from glassesunlimited, so much so that I bought a second pair from there.

    See if that one works, too. It's probably similar to the other site you're looking at.

  42. Anonymous7:09 PM

    I'm in Norway right now. In fact, I'm going to have a Norwegian check my post for gramatical (sic - Norwegian spell checker) errors before it goes up. Don't be a hater.

  43. Hi Johnny try framesdirect.com
    You can upload a pic of yourself and try different frames on your beautiful face before you buy!
    By the way I think you got the science award for your in depth research on outdoor plumbing facilities!

  44. Anonymous8:57 PM

    I've had bifocals since I was in my 30s (well into my 50s now...), and I swear by Zennioptical. Let us know how it turns out. Progressive bifocal sunglasses $45, anyone?

  45. zenni was a little *too* cheap for me, and when I learned that they literally come on a slow boat from china, I went to 39dollarglasses.com instead. Cost me a bit more, but I had them in no time. They are ok, but I am having some trouble getting used to those progressives.

  46. Thank you once again JV for sharing your experiences with us. It always makes me laugh because I can always find SOMETHING to relate to in your blogs. We recently visited our eye doctor only to have her shake her head and say yes, you're eyes are definitely getting worse with age. Great.. now I'm turning 40 and I'm freakin going blind.. THANKS A LOT. LOL

    Keep up the great info-tainment JV!