WHEN I find myself in the GPs' waiting room and have exhausted all the reading material, nothing passes the time like a game of What's Up With Them?

Guessing the ailments of my fellow patients was a pursuit I was deprived of at the eye clinic yesterday. I ended up there after an optician had gazed into my sore eyes and declared himself stumped. To be honest, I'd worked that out when he dusted down his university reference books and started flicking furiously through them.

At the eye clinic, I felt amongst my own kind. We huddled together, nursing our painful-looking eyes and greeting each new member at the door with an empathetic nod. Anyone who has ever had an eye problem will know the drill once you are summoned to see the specialist. It's a couple of squirts of the tingly stuff in your eyes before you assume the position on the head rest. It's a strangely intimate situation to be in with someone you've just met; sitting in a silent, darkened room, essentially nose to nose, while they look deep into your eyes.

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This is no candlelit dinner though. The searching beam of bright light across your retina and close-range puffs of air on your eyeball make for peak tension levels throughout. I was promptly diagnosed, thankfully, with a treatable complaint and sent on my way with some miracle potions.

Once home, I decided to cut my poor little eye some slack and trim my fringe, which has been continually poking me in the eye for some weeks now. I never intended to rock the Claudia "The Walking Fringe" Winkleman look but, heck, life tends to get in the way of a haircut.

Next to go was the eye make-up -far harder to part with than a couple of inches of hair. Even those who don't wear make-up acknowledge the enhancing properties of a slick of the black stuff across the upper lashes. In fact, a survey this week said that 52 per cent of women feel better with make-up on and 28 per cent claim they lack confidence without it.

So, I turned up at work with a fringe that looked like it had been caught in a shredder and "naked" eyes, which prompted several concerned enquiries as to my wellbeing. It brought to mind another finding from the same survey, which claimed that three-quarters of men prefer a natural look and 40 per cent think women wear too much make-up. Reaction to my unadorned fissog neatly demonstrates that sporting The Natural Look and wearing no make-up are not the same thing.