Wednesday, June 09, 2010


Sort of.  I had an eye test recently, about a year late but that's my fault for not keeping tabs on when I was a due a check up.  I've been wearing glasses since I was about 7 (or maybe 6, or 8, or 9, I really have no idea), so about 23 years then.  I am short sighted and about 5 years ago my prescription became a complex one, meaning that I now get my eye sight tests free and about £13 off my glasses.  This is awesome, because I cannot function without wearing glasses.  A complex prescription means that one of the measurements has tipped over to be -10.  Which is sort of where I get to the point of this post...

My prescription is as follows:
(Right eye) Sph: - 9.75, Cyl:  -0.70, Axis: 1.55
(Left eye) Sph: -8.25, Cyl: -2.75, Axis: 8

But it turns out you can write prescriptions another way. amd it means the same thing:

(Right eye) Sph: -10.5, Cyl:  +0.75, Axis: 1.55
(Left eye) Sph: -11, Cyl: +2.75, Axis: 8

In the second one I've added the Cyl to the Sph figure, and made the Cyl figure +.  (I think that's what the recptionist said you did, at any rate my prescription is def over -10).

Anyway you will now see that my prescription reads as -10.75 and -11 for the Sph figures.  When you get a free eyesight test and money off your glasses, the admin folks in the NHS check these figures to ensure that you are actully entitled to your NHS voucher.

But it turns out that unless you write the prescription at the higher value (e.g. the -10 figures) for Sph it is highly likely the NHS admin monkeys will say you aren't eligible for the voucher.  Even though writing the first prescription (under -10) means the same thing.  Which leads me to believe that the NHS are employing people who are either stupid or ignorant, as they apparently can't add numbers together.

Isn't that ridiculous?

However I am highly grateful to have the vouchers, because as stated above, I couldn't function without wearing glasses.  The bad news is that even with the money off voucher, and with having new lenses put into old frames, I am still having to pay £231 to be able to see.  Of course, I could spend £130 and have lenses like milk bottle tops, but then I would resemble a mole.  Bollocks to that.

The receptionist lady who was advising me on all this initially said the NHS voucher was for £80.  I nearly fell off my seat with joy.  But it turns out that that is only for those on benefits.  £80 is a great deal of money off glasses, but if eligible (which I wasn't because my partner has a job), I would still be paying out between £50 and £150.  How's that fair?

Ahh, the vagarie sof our National Health Service.  Lets hope the Tories don't demolish it.


Sea-of-Green said...

It's weird, but I kind of wish I'd had eye problems for most of my life. I had perfect 20-20 vision until just four years ago. I'm STILL getting used to the idea of wearing reading glasses. Mr. Sea, on the other hand, has always worn glasses and doesn't understand why I'm having such a hard time getting used to them. Remembering to carry glasses with me at all times, or even remembering to put them on in the morning, is difficult for me for some strange reason. Contacts are out of the question -- they're a bigger pain to deal with than they're worth. Maybe I'm just in denial about the whole thing. :-(

Saranga said...

Soudns like denial! I tried contacts for a while. the hard ones are fine but you have to wear them daily, the soft ones were rubbish as i scratched my eye taking them out. and i coudl never tell whether they were inside out or not.
glasses are SO much easier.

at least you've only got reading glasses. if i knock my glasse soff the bedside table I then can't find them, as I can't see them.

Feminist Avatar said...

Me too. I am about -8 and can't see more than about a foot in front of me. But, still not entitled to vouchers- because clearly being so blind you can't see your glasses by the bed is not blind enough. This is made more frustrating by the fact that I have to get new glasses every year as my eyesight has been getting worse since I first got glasses when I was 16 and only -0.25. In the last year, my eyesight became so bad (in one year) that I couldn't legally drive. It's not like I want new glasses, but once you can't see anymore, it's not a choice and as you say, unless you want to look a bit too eccentric, £300 is pretty much standard (my lenses start at £200).

Saranga said...

well, once you hit about -10 you get your eyesight tests free. i think this meant i only paid for my test for about 6 years (between 19 and 25). i was over the moon when i found out the check ups were now free.

Feminist Avatar said...

I already get free eyesight tests because I live in Scotland. Doncha love Scotland.