For the past several weeks my vision has been bothering me. In the past it’s happened periodically, after I’ve spent too many hours staring at a computer screen. Things get blurry, to the point that I have to stop writing. I’ve always chalked it up to eye strain, because after some rest I can see again.
Ever since The Inevitable Crash™ my eyesight hasn’t been bouncing back. It’s probably an incremental thing that goes back further than that. I can see distance just fine. Right now there are people down on the beach, splashing around in the lake, and I they’re clear as day. There’s no strain to see the television. But my laptop screen, my phone, and even books are annoyingly blurry. It’s made it difficult for me to work, so it was time to get my vision checked and spend money on glasses.
Before we left the United States in 2014, we bought Katie new glasses. They were ridiculously expensive, even with vision coverage on her insurance. The eye exam had to be scheduled, and there was a co-pay for that. The lenses were incredibly pricey, and even the cheap frames (we did not get the cheap frames, because durability) seemed obnoxiously spendy.
We did this because we’d heard that glasses were even more expensive in Europe, particularly in Finland. I have no idea where we heard this. I suspect from some disgruntled American on some forum who, like many disgruntled expats on forums, hadn’t done an basic research on options and pricing.
Make Time to Get Your Vision Checked
The bad news: My left eye is shot. Even with corrective lenses, I will not have 20/20 vision again. It’s bad. Frighteningly bad. I didn’t realize it until the tech covered my right eye. Even with glasses, it will be a little blurry. Still better than my current vision, but not perfect.
The good news: The vision in my right eye is not bad at all. A reasonably mild prescription. When the tech covered my left eye, I could see a lot better. It makes the deterioration of my left eye a lot less scary.
The best news: Glasses weren’t expensive. This was supposed to be a fact-finding mission to see how much I needed to budget for. We ended up buying three pairs of glasses, two for me and one for Katie. The eye exam was free! My lenses were only around €45, and the frames were €79. Right there, that was cheaper than in the United States.
But wait, there’s more! There were cheaper frames, but they were having a sale! If I bought something from that price point — a wide range of styles and designers .. I got a second pair of complete glasses for free! So two for the price of one!
Wait, there’s still more! It came with a gift certificate to give to someone else, so they could get a free set of the €79 frames! Which means Katie got a free eye exam, and we spent €45 on her lenses and now she’ll have new glasses, too!
This is not some socialist universal health care thing. As foreigners, we don’t get that. This is a commercial eyewear chain, selling the same designer frames you find in the U.S. For a total of €214 (about $249 US) we have three new pairs of glasses. It’ll take about two weeks, but then I’ll be able to see again!
I regret putting this off for so long. My assumption was that it was going to be expensive, but I never did any research. I didn’t look into what my options were, watch for sales, nothing. My suffering was entirely based on my own ignorance and inaction. I’ve learned my lesson.
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