five years since I had my eyes tested. The testing has cranked up a technical notch in the intervening years. Not only can the optician take a picture of your retina [as R, old hat now] but can also carry out a quasi-MRI scan of the back of the retina to catch incipient macular degeneration. With my mother's history, they are a little more vigilant on the mac.degen axis. Unsurprised but vaguely relieved to hear that there is no evidence for any such degeneration in my eyes.
There must have been some post-austerity changes because, if you are up-to-date with social insurance, you can now claim a free eye-test and the glasses . . . both for reading and driving. They blagged me into getting 'anti-glare coating' on the driving glasses but even then The Gumment picks up the lion's share of that. So I came out of the opticians €32 lighter in the pocket but with two pairs of tailored-to-me functional spectacles on order. That's because I was happy to have the lens supported by 'national health' frames. The choice was presented to me as a shoe-box full of different frames. Don't make me no difference, I whined, fashion accessories are wasted on me. But that wasn't quite true. I refused a pair with bold red ear-hooks "clash with my yellow phone" and a couple of golden-shiny frames as well. And I insisted that the frames be different in shape and colour so I don't try driving blind. The other reassuring information is that, while my prescription glasses are slightly asymmetrical, for general reading I am assured that +2.50 glasses at €2.99 from ALDI will continue to serve.
It took 80 minutes (!) to get through all my eye-business. Which was just enough time to ear-wig on another eye-punter's business transactions. This lady would clearly be mortified to be seen wearing government spectacles because she was allowing herself to be flattered around the up-market frames. Eventually she agreed to shell out €460 (!!) for a lens+frames bundle . . . and was havering about whether she'd sign for a <