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I Can See Clearly Now

Published 10/21/2015


I recently took my 11 year-old and 8 year-old sons to the Optometrist.  Unbeknownst to me this type of doctor appointment should have been routine since they were six months old.  I was to be enlightened on this topic during this visit.  After the pre-screening we were ushered to the exam room where it was pretty clear my boys were closing out a busy day for this particular office.  The doctor was shifting lenses while asking the standard "Which is clearer, one...or two...two...or one?"  for the umpteenth time that day.  Appearing rather unenthused, she was able to look away while screwing in long distance vision cards to the machine- a sign she could do this in her sleep.  I actually began to feel bad as I observed her standing and shifting during the exam, concluding she was trying to inject some motion into what had obviously become a monotonous routine.   My older son asked the doctor what she could see as she shined the light in his younger brother's eye.  "Oh, all kinds of things- veins, capillaries, and even the brain stem that will show up as white."  I was surprised and uttered, "you're kidding me?"  "Oh yes" the kind doctor responded...and then elaborated by telling me she can detect all kinds of significant health problems by dilating the eyes.  "I can see hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, and cancer among other things.  I get so frustrated because a baby can't even leave the hospital after birth until they've had their hearing checked because it could affect their development."  Then she asked with more than a hint of exasperation, "Don't you think their development would be affected if they can't see?"  Clearly we had hit a hot-button for this woman and her passion for eye health rose to the occasion.  Her whole demeanor shifted to a warmer, more engaged manner and she began to ask my boys what they like to do.  They responded and we all laughed over similarities with her son's interest in football and use of imagination.  "That's great," she smiled at my sons enthusiasm

for playing outdoors and having neighborhood throw-together games then added, "Kids don't typically like to do that these days."  We were now on common ground.  The excitement level rose in the room as she announced there was no one scheduled after us and invited the boys to look into each others eyes.  My younger son held the flashlight and steadied himself, as instructed, by placing his arm on his brother's shoulder.  He then lowered the flashlight, gave his brother a grimace and said with a head shake, "You're not going to make it..."  A huge guffaw burst from us all in unison.  We kept the humor going while being simultaneously amazed at what you really can see in a dilated eye.  I even got a chance to look and saw the

illuminated brain stem- which prompted the doctor to point out, "Hey, you really do have a brain in there!"  It was an unexpected delight, this appointment that morphed into a classroom as we broke through the sterile purpose of intent and actually interacted therefore bringing out the best in each other.   We left feeling uplifted and educated, even in the department that my younger son had a surprising sense of humor.  What a great encounter.  I thought of the doctor and how she seemed refreshed as she became intent on digging through under-counter boxes to offer the boys prizes of flashlights and delight them with their black, plastic sunglasses to shield their sensitive, dilated eyes.  Their imaginative play took them from roles of playing the blind brothers to good cop/bad cop as we headed to the car.  Sometimes it just takes someone showing a bit of interest to lift the dusty, mundane lid off a passion and give greater purpose to what others offer day in and day out, letting them know they are making a difference.  Ironically, while filling out papers in the waiting room before being called back, I had asked my older son if he ever thought about what he might want to do when he grew up.  Who knows?  Perhaps this fun experience broadened my son's range of vision, offering a new perception and greater insight into the field of Optometry.  (SEE what I did there?)  ;)




#breakingbarriers #careerchoice #kideyeexams #familyblog #funnykids #humor #kidsglasses #optometry #pediatriceyeexams #pediatricoptometry #careerpassion #passionateaboutwork


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