Saturday, May 9, 2009

These Eyes

Still riding high from my folder triumph, I decided to tackle another pressing problem: my lousy eyesight. Over two years ago I was able to walk into an optician here, get my eyes tested and pick out a pair of glasses.

My eyes have gotten worse so a few months back I called the same optician to book an appointment. At first I thought she was telling me that I was now too old for her to look at my eyes. I eventually understood that my eyes were too bad to be properly examined there and I needed to call an ophtalmologue for an examination. Seems the first time I'd been given the French equivalent of a "get out of jail free" card - but not this time.

I got out the phone book and called a few doctors and they all said they'd be happy to see me - in eight to ten months. Apparently the doctors who accept insurance are always booked up many months in advance.

I don't think I can make it through another summer without prescription sunglasses, preferably varifocals so I can walk and drive and read road signs and maps without having to keep switching glasses. I thought of trying to wait until we go to England or the US where in any mall or city street Specsavers employees practically tackle you as you pass by to try and fit you with new glasses - but that's still two months away.

I drove to a bigger town to try to trick my way into being seen by an optician. What with the economic crisis hitting France I figured if the prospect of the sale of two pairs of glasses was right there on the doorstep, they'd probably bend the rules a little.

"Non, NON, Madame - c'est la loi!" It's the law. Coming from this optician who was about thirty it made me feel especially sleazy. It was different when the "authorities" - cops, bankers, doctors, etc all looked like grizzled veterans to me. I feel extra sheepish when slapped on the wrist by somebody a few decades younger.

But apparently there are back alley ophtalmologues around, who'll see anyone on short notice, without involving insurance. Which is fine since insurance doesn't cover eyeglasses anyway. The young optician discreetly handed me a slip of paper with a name and address and I went along in person and booked an appointment for Tuesday.

The hits just keep on coming.


Someone Said said...

Careful where they dilate you.

amy said...

Ouch! Of course it needed to be said...

Rosie said...

yes you have to see an opthalmathingie, opticians are not allowed to sell you glasses direct!
And there is a problem with waiting lists here...about 9 months to a year. My daughter needed glasses urgently so we went to casualty. I told her to say that she suffered from violent headaches...and they sent us to the hospital opthal. Result!

Non Je Ne Regrette Rien said...

psst *glances nervously around* can I get a hook-up?

I arrived with 2 pairs of eyeglasses, one new and one kinda scratchy. In 9 months I've managed to lose the scratchy ones and scratch the new ones with ferocity.

I need new specs. *cough*.

amy said...

Amazing, Rosie - for every "rule" in France there are twice as many suggestions for how to get around it.

For sure Kim. Or there's always casualty?!