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Eye see

Posted Oct 30 2008 3:31pm

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I was well overdue for an eye test. By about 4 years. I went to a Specsavers branch near work, and I was concerned how they would cope with a deaf client. I had walked in last week to make an appointment, and was told ‘Sorry, we don’t allow pets’ - I replied that he’s not a pet, he’s a Hearing Dog. They were ok with that. Today, I was asked to take a glaucoma (tonometry test) which I hate, hate, hate! A non-contact tonometer puffs air through the eye and measures the level of pressure within the eye. Very uncomfortable, and I was shaking afterwards. Then I was asked to mumble….mumble…. ‘Hang on’, I said, ‘I need to lip read you so I will have to see your face’. Oh. Once THAT had registered, the optometrist moved and faced me so I could see her speak. From then on, it was all plain sailing.

She tested my vision using various wall charts, and then checked the health of my eyes. Thankfully my eyes are ok. At one point, she said ’so you can lip read me?’ - as it was dark in the room and I was following what she was saying. I explained that I can only hear vowels and not consonants, and a great help to lip reading or guesswork is knowing the context of speech. As I’ve had eye tests before, I know what to expect and can guess what will be said - ‘look up’, ‘look down’ etc - so I didn’t have too much of a problem with following her speech in the dark. She switched the lights back on for normal conversation and spoke clearly so it was fairly stress-free communication. Great stuff!

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