Goldil-OCTs and the three chairs

Last week I went for my Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) test.

Last week I went for my Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) test.  The tech was running way behind, we were told.  She was accidentally double-booked, we were told.

As I sat there, I discovered that I was glad that this test was not a “fasting” test, glad that I was not waiting on an empty stomach.  [So sad that this is my first thought.  Welcome to our sandbox!]

Probably when I see the test results, I’ll be way more fascinated, but right now I am struck more by how awkward it was to transfer myself from my wheelchair to two different chairs and a swivel stool, then back to my wheelchair 45-minutes later.

The test started with me plopped down in a comfortable, padded executive chair and holding up a “mask occluder” [ha! It took me ten minutes to find out what that was called!] over each eye.


First covering one eye, then the other, I read the eye chart lines down as small as I could go.  Additionally, after each time I covered the opening with the pinhole screen and tried again.  [Curious, but this helps!!]

Next I switched back and forth between each eye fixating on the center dot of an Amsler grid so the tech could determine the accuracy of my central visual field.

Then I lurched over to a basic, hard plastic office chair facing the far wall with another eye chart.  Again using the occluder I read aloud the increasingly smaller letters on that chart.


Finally, I pitched forward to a revolving stool.  I knew it swiveled but didn’t realize how hard that would make it to lean on while shifting over.

I suddenly had visions of me as a character in an I Love Lucy episode [do I have this series on the brain? (see here)] trying to stay on the stool as it tried to spin me off!

When I finally got seated and righted, my left eye was taped closed.  I was told to lean slightly forward, rest my chin on the chinrest and press my forehead against the camera frame, then fixate on a pinpoint of blue light.

The tech told me I could blink whenever I wanted, just to keep staring at the blue light, that this part of the test would go fastest if I just held still and stared straight ahead.  First one eye was tested, then the patch was switched to the opposite eye.

Finally she removed the eye patch and put “numbing” eye drops in both eyes.  She then gently placed the rounded tip of a tool that looks like a pen directly on each cornea to measure the intraocular pressure of each.

Next test will be a dermatologist for skin-cancer screening.  [I suspect all these tests are required because of things a few patients contracted in clinical.trials–to make sure those things are not already “on board.”]

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