I had my first comprehensive eye exam with an opthamologist on Friday. The office was located in the heart of Chinatown. Part of the comprehensive exam involved the doctor dilating my pupils with tropicamide. He assured me that this drug-induced mydriasis wouldn't last longer than four hours. I'd have trouble reading and some sensitivity to light but it wouldn't be terrible. After the examination, I was so relieved that my eyes were healthy and I wouldn't need prosthetics, after all (welcome to the abnormally anxious world of the hypochondriac) that I didn't give the dilated pupils much thought as I joined our favorite commenter, Rachel, for lunch in the area. Rach and I had a good laugh when I had to squint down from under my glasses, senescent-style, in order to read the menu. Over the course of the meal, however, my vision deteriorated even in the relative dimness of the restaurant. I kept on taking off my glasses only to put them back on. Rach asked if I was okay. I said no and I tried to eat, which is hard to do when you're distracted by the thought of making your way back home with less than optimal vision. After pushing my charred salmon steak around in my plate, I rushed off to the cramped bathroom and nearly fell backwards into a stall when I took one look at my freakishly wide pupils and the tiniest slivers of brown iris that struggled against the expansion.
When we finally emerged into the hot, bustling streets of downtown Manhattan, my light-hungry pupils had their fill and I, reduced to a bright blindness was incapacitated. I dodged tourists and merchandise, pungent smells that I could almost touch and taste, while hanging off Rach's arm. I must've looked blind to the throngs that made their way around us as we attempted to find cheap knockoff sunglasses that might ease my pain. Anyone who knows me knows that I don't do sunglasses--I feel like a phony in them--but these desperate times called for $8 aviators, which, even I must admit, looked pretty hot (well, at least from what I could see...which, we've determined, wasn't very much at all).
While the the aviators had reduced the photosensitivity, vision was now greatly compromised by the fact that I had to remove my glasses in order to wear my sunglasses. Suddenly, I found myself shoved into one of my worst nightmares: being dropped off in a teeming metropolis sans contact lenses or glasses. The early afternoon was overwhelming and frightening.
To make a long story short, Rach did see me to the PATH station in a cab and I, even in my myopic and photophobic condition, did manage to stumble and feel my way home, looking hot in the aviators the entire way. It was intense.
The morale of this story: don't ever have your pupils dilated in Chinatown. Also, having someone wait for you in a car with aviators and enough Benadryls to knock you out for several hours might be a good idea. Plus, please keep in mind that if your eyes are as crazy, hypersensitive as are mine, they're likely to remain dilated for well over thirty-six hours, which is fucked up. Finally, you don't look nearly as phony as you think you do in sunglasses, so keep them on. Your eyes will thank you.