Article Date: 4/1/2009

A Breath of Fresh Air
Patient's Perspective

A Breath of Fresh Air

After a miserable weekend destroyed my eyeglasses and my spirits, friendly help was just what the doctor ordered.

By Lauren Kulp, as told to Erin Murphy, Contributing Editor

WHEN I AWOKE in my room at a beautiful San Diego resort with ants crawling all over me, I had an inkling my pharmaceutical conference wouldn't go well. Because the hotel was fully booked, I had to keep the room. Someone from housekeeping blasted it with a can of pesticide that left a lingering odor for the rest of my visit. Hungover from the fumes, I knew contact lenses were out of the question. Thankfully, I had my eyeglasses.

Then, I accidentally destroyed them.

Clumsy Me

Always the klutz, I tripped over a side-walk curb and careened forward onto the pavement, smashing my eyeglasses beyond repair. With my eyes too irritated for contact lenses and my spectacles destroyed, I had only one option: very dark prescription sunglasses.

The good times rolled on. The second night in town, I attended a semi-formal dinner in dark sunglasses and clothes that smelled like bug spray. But I was starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I'd be home in less than 24 hours.

Foiled Escape Plan

The next morning, I couldn't wait to get on the plane. I was anxious to see my husband, so I made an extra effort to look gorgeous.

At the hotel, one of the valets went for my car as another valet blindly tossed the remaining contents of his cup in the general direction of my face. My dress was soaked. My highlight-enhancing mousse turned to sticky goo, and mascara ran down my face. The staff apologized profusely and made every effort to help me clean up, but the damage was done.

Now running late, I had to sprint through the airport. I was the last one to board the plane. The annoyed pilot said, "There's something on your face," as if he'd never before seen tracks of running mascara. I slunk to my seat. After a 5-hour flight, I emerged from the plane looking like a beleaguered hag, then wept with relief when I saw my husband.

Sigh of Relief

First thing the next day, I visited my optometrist's office. The staff was friendly and welcoming, as always, and they gave me that comforting feeling that they'd fix everything.

They reminded me it had been almost a year since my last exam, and suggested maybe the fall meant I needed a new prescription. Because I had to order eyeglasses right away, the doctor fit me into his schedule, and sure enough, my prescription had changed.

The optical staff noticed I was upset about ruining my expensive frames, so they told me the frames were under warranty, which even covered accidental smashing.

I received new eyeglasses the next day. It was the first bright spot I'd seen in days — literally, since I finally could take off my dark sunglasses! I was so pleased with the experience that I bought a second pair of eyeglasses, so I'd always have a backup pair.

People break their eyeglasses all the time. Wearing sunglasses or an outdated prescription isn't the best alternative. That's when a flexible doctor and friendly staff can be — as I'd come to value during my stay in a cloud of pesticide — a breath of fresh air! nOD

Editor's note: Periodically, new OD will explore eye care from the patient's perspective. Whether you have a special interest in contact lenses, low vision or pediatric care, you'll find out from real patients what attracts them to a practice and keeps them coming back.

Optometric Management, Issue: April 2009