Eye exam and the beautiful balloon

In this memory, I’m five years old. A few times a year, I wake up to itchy eyes. The itchiness doesn’t go away even after I rub my eyes. Instead, it worsens.

“Don’t rub your eyes, Sweetie,” says my mother as she examines my eye balls. “That’s pink eye. I’ll take you to the doctor, but don’t rub your eyes until then!”

My heart lurches with excitement. Among all the doctors I’ve seen so far, there’s just one doctor I look forward to visiting, and that’s my eye doctor. Unlike other hospitals, the eye doctor’s place is peaceful and pain-free. There’s even a part I look forward to during my visit: the eye exam.

The eye exam room is located right after the tiny waiting room. Every patient is first asked to take the eye exam before seeing the doctor.

Once in the room, an assistant guides me to the chair in front of a large metal device. The device has a place where I can place my chin. After adjusting the height of the device, when she knows my face is comfortably rested against the device, the assistant asks me to look into the lens in front of me.

A portal to another world – that’s what this lens is. Because what I see through it is a most interesting scenery I’ve ever seen. I’m standing on a long path that stretches across the field of green grass, and hovering over the horizon is a huge hot air balloon.

“Wow,” I let out a sigh of disbelief. I’ve never seen such a beautiful hot air balloon in my life! “I wish I could travel in that balloon. I’d be flying over towns and villages. How fun it must be!”

As I’m lost in my imagination, the person behind the device adjusts a lever, and I see my air balloon become clearer. She then adjusts the lever again, this time making the balloon blurry.

“The balloon became blurry,” I immediately report to the person behind the device.

“OK,” comes back the reply. She adjusts the lever once again. “How about now?”

“It’s clear again.”

I could have gazed at the hot air balloon for the whole day. But this part of the eye exam comes to an end after a few adjustments of the lever, and I move on to the next part. This time, I’m asked to cover one eye with a black spoon, and look at a table with many letter c’s of different sizes. They also have different orientations, and I’m asked to tell the person where I see the opening of each letter c.

After this fun is also over, I’m called in to the doctor’s office where an old lady doctor examines my eyes under an extremely bright light before giving me the official diagnosis: pink eye.

When I come out of the office, usually, my little brother is doing his eye exam. Though his eyes aren’t yet pink, my mother likes to have him checked, too, in case he’s also infected.

Once everything is done, we get the prescribed eyedrops from the nearby pharmacy and go back home.