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At the opticians

First thing, this needs to be said: Dear France, please permit opticians in glasses shops to conduct proper eye tests.

You see, in France, an optician can perform a "check" to verify your prescribed correction, and they can make small adjustments to it. However if things have changed, or it it's been more than 3-5 (depends upon age) years since the last test, then it must be done properly by an eye doctor who can prescribe.

The thing is, when I had my eyes tested two years ago, it was at a place in Châteaubriant. The optician made the appointment for me, and it must have carried a little bit of weight at it was in weeks rather than months (seriously, the test I had many years before was a waiting list of over six months). Anyway, I went in and sat down. And waited. And waited. And waited.
Eventually I was called in. It was the usual routine. A bunch of different lenses stuck in front of my eyes, with me attempting to read letters off of a screen reflected in a mirror. Then some flipping around of lenses, is this better or is this better? Then a red/green thing. The entire test was conducted in about ten minutes (the waiting room was full). I went to wait in a different room. This time there was a television in the corner talking about the benefits of laser correction, including videos of the procedure being done, a graphical animation of how the procedure works (make a slit in the eye, use a different focus laser to cut out part of the cornea, then gently reach inside through the slit and pull out the cut-out part - ewwwwww!). There were testimonials and lots of smiling people, but sorry, that infographic gave me the heebeegeebees. No way in hell I'm having that done. I'd rather just keep on wearing glasses.
Eventually I was called in. This time somebody wearing a white coat (look at me, I'm the doctor) asked me some questions. Standard stuff. I told him my eyes were dry and I'd had that ever since I had a chemical accident about six years beforehand. He pretty much ignored that and wrote me a prescription for a box of fake tears and told me to see my doctor if it wasn't better in a few weeks. Yeah...
My eyes, if I recall, were -2.50 in both with a -0.25° correction. Or something like that.

Fast forward to today. I turned up early. The girl, called Manon (as in Manon des Sources) took me round the back of the shop where the test stuff was. Exactly the same set-up as the doctor-optician. Only, her test took over half an hour. It wasn't because she was rubbish or slow, it's because she was doing a very thorough test. Much more so than any of the doctors have ever given me.
Interestingly she recorded the offset as the same, but the correction was -2.25 in my left eye and -2.50 in my right. I think it's negative, whatever myopia is. I have for quite a while felt that there was a small difference between my eyes. I mostly notice it after dozing off outside and opening my eyes (without glasses). Not only are the colours different (my left eye sees 'warmer') but for just a few moments I feel like the focus isn't the same. My body adjusts, I put my glasses on, and it's all sort of as normal.
It's interesting that the proper doctor gave me a reading of the same in both eyes, whereas this girl and her "verification" (because it's not a proper eye test even though she's an actual trained optician) did measure a tangible difference.

I set up the date in my diary to come to the opticians last week, back in January. Because my mutuel (medical top-up) will pay for glasses every two years. Mid July is two years. And because of COVID, I had to make an appointment. Which was this afternoon.
I want to have a replacement pair of glasses, and have these current ones as backup, and more than that I needed to get myself new sunglasses.
My eyes are quite photo-sensitive, so I wear sunglasses when driving on pretty much every day that it isn't actually raining (sometimes those white-cloud skies are worse than blazing sunshine). As my sunglasses were the previous-previous prescription, they were surely about six or seven years old? I can feel my eyes changing when I put them on, so really I think something newer would be better.

It costs a euro for a second pair of glasses. Which becomes about €26 for tinted (sun) glasses. Which becomes €61 if you want polarising lenses. Normally I wouldn't bother with stuff like that, but since I'm driving now... I went for polarising. Oh, and brown tint as well. There was a choice of grey, but looking out the window with them, I dunno, it just makes everything look a bit bleak. I pay the €61 (actually, already have, prefer to get that out of the way).

My top-up covered the cost of the normal glasses. Something like €60 for the frames (reduced because summer sales, though this was pure co-incidence, not planned) and €80 for each lens. As with my current glasses, anti-blue filter and anti-UV filter. I suspect my older glasses didn't have any UV filter, which is why I can better tolerate bright daylight wearing my current pair. I'm sitting out front to write this, and wearing normal glasses. Partly because sunglasses and LCD screens on a bright day don't mix, but also because I can tolerate it. I suspect, therefore, that my eyes aren't sensitive to light so much as ultraviolet.

The pair I chose? I don't like plastic frames (too many bad memories of standard issue NHS glasses when I was a child). And I don't like shiny chrome because Immortan Joe says no it's not really "me". So...

New glasses
I've blacked out my eyes because I don't trust certain large popular companies not to be trying to pull biometrics from user-uploaded photos. Simply because they can and there's no useful legislation preventing it (or, for that matter, enforcing what little legislation does exist, other than spamming everybody with "let us set a cookie to say you don't want cookies" pop-ups).
Either that, or I'm possessed. Though god help any ghost that wants to inhabit this sorry excuse of a human!

The top-up was essential to cover the costs. Because generally (though there are many exceptions and variations) the Sécu (public health service) covers 70% of the cost of medical care and the top-up covers the rest. However glasses, hearing aids, and a lot of dentistry are not considered medical care. So the Sécu covers three centimes for the frames, and three centimes for each lens. No, that's not a typo. Nine centimes in total. Or a mite under a tenth of a euro. For standard non-varifocal lenses costing eighty euros apiece.
There is, now, a special "Sécu will cover it" option that was introduced in January. But it has specific frames and lenses that are available. I rather suspect we're right back in the big chunky NHS glasses situation again.
And, anyway, since my top-up was happy to pick up the tab, I went with that option.


By the way, the glasses don't come with the 'gun'. I have quite strong feelings on guns, and none of them positive. It's just the logo of the lens. I think they might be Zeiss?


Oh FFS, WTactualF?

Orange sent me a text. Very nicely, they have changed my subscription. At no extra cost to me, I now have a monthly data allocation of 80GiB. EIGHTY!!!?!?.
Remember when I had three? Well, I can burn through nearly that much data every single day now.
What the hell am I going to do with that?! It is... it is... <fx: head explodes>

Thanks, Orange. I guess I could try tethering my computer to the phone over 4G for faster data than the wired setup. Though, my god, I could download and burn a Linux installation CD-ROM every six hours (or a DVD-R every other day).


Hummingbird moth

As I was writing this, sitting out front, because why not, I caught a movement from the corner of my eye, and I looked up to see this amazing insect hovering around the scented pea, and I'm running out of reasons to add more commas to this run-on sentence.
Anyway, since it was literally right there and I had my phone with me... clicky-clicky in camera mode, recording video, smile bug! You're famous now.
It is properly called a Hummingbird hawk-moth, but to be honest it's impressive enough as it is that it doesn't need to try to epic-up it's name with the word "hawk".
It's name in Latin is Macroglossum stellatarum, which sounds like some sort of process for Roman-era photography (the knowledge of which was entirely lost to humanity during the Dark Ages).
Probably it's most striking feature is the long curled sucker-tube (proboscis) which is about an inch long and used to poke right into the juicy nectar in the heart of the flowers. It's one of the reasons mom used to keep the self-sown scented pea around, even though it's basically a sprawling mess poking out of the driveway. I have two this year, and every so often collect the seed pods and scatter them elsewhere in the hope that more will grow. It's popular with bees too. Of course, it doesn't hurt that it smells nice and is quite pretty in it's enthusiastically shocking magenta.
Seeing one of this is supposed to be a lucky omen. Since I've recorded it and uploaded it to the world, does that mean I lose my luck, or that everybody who watches gets a little bit of good luck?



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David Pilling, 17th July 2020, 03:03
Opticians - UK - they do retina photographs and they'll let you have copies by email if you ask nicely. A good game is the machine that measures eyeball pressure by blowing air in your eye - try not to blink. Another game is peripheral vision test, click when you see the light. The red/green thing is astigmatism (different focus for different colours). Not really expecting the NHS to pay for glasses and much of the game is getting the lenses done by low cost mail order companies. 
Gavin Wraith, 17th July 2020, 09:48
After my first cataract operation my left eye, with its new plastic lens, saw colours bright and fresh, while my right eye, I suddenly realised, was making everything look like an old Victorian photograph, a dull sepia. Eventually my right eye got a cataract too, and now with plastic lenses in each eye my vision is better than it has ever been in my life. The operations were painless, took only 15 minutes. Technology is wonderful.
Mick, 19th July 2020, 16:48
Couldn't you have popped in someone elses eyeballs instead of leaving zombie holes? If you were unsure of the colour, you could do a David Bowie. ;-)

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