humor / poetry

Cheating on the Eye Exam





Went to the eye doctor yesterday,

and though my new glasses are tops,

I really wanted a monocle.

I’m a nearsighted cyclops.


Well, I’m no cyclops, but I really did go to the optometrist yesterday. My optometrist cracks me up, because after every answer you give, he praises your feedback. “Which is better, number one or number 2? Great! Wonderful!” I started laughing because he was making me feel like I was winning Jeopardy. “That’s a perfect answer! Good job!”

What, am I going to be valedictorian of the School of Poor Vision? I’ll earn an A in Astigmatism?

image by David Castillo Dominici,

image by David Castillo Dominici,


I can tell it’s habit for him. He must get people worrying and apologizing that they can’t read lines as he’s fiddling with their prescription. So he reassures them to get them to relax and stop squinting. Well, his undue amount of praise kept making me laugh, and when I smile my eyes all but disappear anyway. (My mom and I are forever having people tell us not to squint in photographs, but it’s either that or not smile.)


Behold me squinting.

So I’d grin at the lavish praise for bad eyesight, he’d compensate by telling me that was just the right answer!, and I’d only squint more for laughing.

One of my dearest college friends and I had a long dinner discussion once over the compulsion to cheat on eye exams. It’s easy to cheat, because optometrists rarely change their letters up, and you just memorize them. But it’s a true lesson in how cheating really cheats yourself, because then you wind up with weak glasses for the next year. I bet in optometry school they warn the doctors about this flaw in human nature. That patients will want to cheat on the eye charts.

Image courtesy of ponsulak at

Image courtesy of ponsulak at

Confession time: do you cheat on eye exams?

3 thoughts on “Cheating on the Eye Exam

  1. This article made me laugh in agreement (without squinting :p) No, I don’t cheat on eye exams, but when I actually can read the chart afterwards I’m like, bah that was a B, or something like that.

    My greatest claim to fame at the eye doctor was when the optometrist, after finishing the exam, went and showed all the rest of the doctors and staff how extreme my astigmatism was! Huzzah for me with the weird eyes! Funny thing is I see better than all my “blind” friends. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I once had a doctor raving about my perfectly round corneas. “They’re textbook round! Amazing!” Um, I’m glad my astigmatism is such clear-cut perfection? lol

    I don’t cheat but I always wonder how hard you’re supposed to try to decipher the letters. I don’t want to get credit when I’m guessing so my answers are extremely unsure to convey that. Along the lines of, “I think it’s a B. Um… this one is an F? Err… I’m not sure which was clearer. Can you flip the dohickey again?”


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