Hey! There's another conspiracy theory here in the heartland!
The folks at my optometrist's office are now gathering information for the government. That's what they told me. I didn't even ask. They always want a list of medications. That's fair game. Something might be affecting my sight. Or I might be prescribed an antibiotic to which I am allergic. But this was totally different.
Mr. O, the optometrist himself, was grousing about it. "Excuse me. I've got to enter all this information. It's something new that we just started. We don't have a choice. It's for the government. We're still trying to learn the screens." He quizzed me on my medications that the air-cannon girl had already quizzed me on. The medications that I had handed on a list to the counter worker. The list that a totally different girl returned to me in the exam chair. That's four people waltzing around that office with my Hippa info. All that, and Dr. O could only find one medication listed on my account, and two that were not even medications that I have ever taken. The word cluster comes to mind.
Oh, and the air-cannon girl was overly inquisitive as to my blood pressure. I was starting to think something was wrong with me.
"Do you have high blood pressure?"
"I take medication for it. So, no. It's controlled."
"What was your blood pressure the last time you went to the doctor?"
"I don't know. That was months ago. He didn't adjust my medicine."
"Was the bottom number in the seventies."
"I believe so."
"Was the top number in the one twenties?"
"That sounds about right."
"Okay. We're going to go to a room and get your blood pressure taken."
Criminy! You'd have thought they were rushing down the hall with a gurney to wheel me out to the helipad to life-flight me to a major trauma center. I feared that something weird had shown up in the air-cannon test, which I know is for glaucoma, or the click-on-the-wavy-lines test for peripheral vision, or the shine-the-light-into-the recesses-of-your-brain test while you look at a little red barn down a long dirt road.
In the exam room, Air-Cannon Girl typed my medical info into the new database. Another girl came in and said she needed a space to record that a person does not have diabetes. Dr. O appeared, and did a stint as data entry clerk. He flipped lenses and determined that my prescription has changed. He shined a beacon onto my retinas and scoured them for anomalies. At no time did anybody come in to check my blood pressure. Or even mention it again. Dr. O said that if I had brought a driver, he would dilate my eyes, but that since there was nothing remarkable about my exam, he didn't even think I'd need to come back another day for the dilation.
So what's the deal with the blood pressure panic? I guess they get a finder's fee for any new diagnoses. Dr. O said that everybody has to do the new government information-gathering. Optometrists. Pharmacies. "Even dentists?" I asked.
"Well, probably not dentists."
Pardon my French, but WTF? That stands for "What the French?," right? Because if an optometrist has to take all that medical info, wouldn't it stand to reason that a dentist, who gouges and pokes and draws blood and gives shots and doles out pain pills more than an optometrist should be doing the same thing?
I'm betting there's some kind of grant money involved here. Something is fishy in the eyeball industry.