What Happens When a Writer Strains Her Eyes

Do you know what happens when a writer strains her eyes and can’t look at a screen for two weeks? First, there is denial: “I can do a little bit of work…” Then there is despair. “I can’t post, I can’t email. I can’t even edit my manuscript!”

Then there is… decluttering.

Seriously. I sorted and folded my clothes al la Marie Condo style. I cleaned out my closet and every drawer in my room. I bought little boxes and sorted my bathroom items and my tea. I cleaned out my office drawers and rearranged the bookshelves. And then I helped my father sand and scrape and restore the kitchen of our historical family home.

I also learned a lot about computer eyestrain. Such as that they make special glasses that take out the blue light. (My first pair!) They have apps too, like Flux, that will do the same thing, though I had that before the eye strain.

Undaunted, I sat down to make a plan: How to run a blog, edit videos for a drone company, and write a novel series while minimizing screen time. And then I sat there and realized, though I consider myself an old-fashioned type person when it comes to work, I’m 99% screen.

Eeek. I made an appointment to get my eyes checked and found I have no vision problems beyond a slight stigmatism. But I researched and found some ways to protect and preserve my eye sight.

1. Computer Glasses

I’ve never worn glasses before, but I ordered a cheaper pair of “computer glasses” that filter out the blue light. This will help save your eyes from strain and also cut down on your brain thinking it’s daytime when it’s night so you can go to sleep faster.

2. Flu.x

I knew this before the enforced vacation but while we’re on the subject, there are apps to do the same thing. Flux is the one I was using and it’s worked like a charm for years – at least until I ran up against video-editing deadlines and pulled a screen-staring marathon.

3. Typing Machines

I used to have this clunky typing machine called an Alphasmart. It was made of plastic, ran on AA batteries and had a little screen to see text that reminded me of an old etch-a-sketch. I didn’t like how much noise the keys made or how some of them pressed harder than others – mine had belonged to a school before I owned it, so it was pretty worn. I eventually passed it on to a writing friend. But now, I’ve decided it was time to find one of those again – and I discovered they have four different kinds! They’re discontinued, but can be cheaply picked up online. (We’re talking $20 folks!) A little research and review convinced me that the NEO Alphasmart would be the best bet for me. This one has a pleasant clicker sound – like a very soft typewriter instead of the rain pounding on the windowsill effect my old Alphasmart gave. The Neo also includes a built-in thesaurus, word counter, find/replace, a file linker, and the ability to change font sizes. My Mac may finally get its well-deserved break.

4. Eyebright Tea

Did you know that there are little flowering plants called Eyebrights? According to “20,000 Secrets of Tea” “Eyebright’s official name is Euphrasia is derived from Euphrosyne, Greek meaning “gladness.” The little herb is said to lift spirits and heal eyes. I added eyebright tea to my morning routine.

5: Friends

I knew I had friends but they rallied for me when the eyestrain persisted. I had offers to type up portions of the work I’d handwritten, help with editing “The Creator” so I wouldn’t fall too far behind on my deadline of finishing revising the draft, and was able to outsource the audio-editing for the book snippets I had read. So thank you, friends, both helping for bearing with my online absence. I hope that you are all having a lovely day and do remember to take care of your eyes.

Disclaimer: This is not meant to give some ideas, not offer or replace professional medical advice. If you are having trouble or pain with your eyes, get them checked by a professional.