pencil pushups


I didn’t realize until I inspected an itty bitty eyedropper of Tylenol, squinting for the dosage information, that my eyesight is getting soggy. Where the world used to be crisp and HD, it’s now more of a muddied watercolor on a too small screen. And it’s no longer just distances giving me trouble. Instead of bringing the medicine bottle nearer, I had to look at it from a distance.

"I’m only thirty-two. This doesn’t happen to people until forty." I needed an eye doctor lickity-split. Dear doctor, it has been two years since my last examination. Please don’t tell me I’m going blind in a hurry.

"Your eyes are lazy," the doctor said.
"Yeah, well, I’m sure they caught it from my arms."
"You’re not losing your eyesight; it’s just that when you’re in front of a computer all the time as you are, your eyes become accostomed to only focusing at that particular distance."
"I see." Even though, as we both knew, I didn’t.
"You need to do eye exercises."
"I want you to do pencil pushups."

Lucky for her, I’d already filled up on a hearty plate of bitch toast, with spiteful syrup, and a dab of dastardly for breakfast. There was little room for my fiendish remarks. Still, she couldn’t be serious.

"It’s where you take a pencil with high contrast writing on it, like black on white–" Thanks for clearing that up, lady. "And you hold it close to your face, forcing your eyes to make the words come into focus… No you’re really not a candidate for laser surgery at this time because your prescription from three years ago is very different from the one I’m giving you today. Your eyes are, uh, changing too much for laser surgery." I’m totally going blind, and you don’t have the gnads to say it.

So today, I’m checking email, and I notice that Martha Stewart is getting a tad risque, and I don’t mean wearing black and navy together. Her latest bulk email is titled, "Lemon Tassels." Edible pasties? Martha? Really? I can’t NOT click on that…

…oh, Lemon Tassies, the petite cookie of the day. My lenses better be ready soon.



  1. Ooo, that is rough. Now I'm going to be all paranoid about being in front of the computer. Ya think if I move my office chair back in forth that will save me from high contrast pencils?

  2. I am sorry that you can't have laser surgery. I had it a month ago and went from 20/400 to 20/15 in, like, 10 minutes. It's incredible. Go do your pencil pushups and maybe if you can motivate your eyes to be less lazy you'll be a candidate. Maybe you'll have to bribe your eyes with a reward in order to keep them motivated… a little eye-candy perhaps?

  3. i, totally 100%, also read "lemon tassels" in my martha email subject line this morning, before taking a better look.

    it brought me back to stealing glances at the "special section" of the video rental place when i was a kid. i was mesmerized with the one box with three women wearing neon tassels on their nip-nips. it was well into jr. high before i thought that pornography was anything more than video of women swinging nipple tassels around in a circular motion while they jump up and down.

  4. Well, I am 40 and I do have to look over my glasses (extremely near-sighted which is actually a benefit in this situation) to read small print. Or, looking through the lenses of my glasses, I have to extend the item, pulling it away from my face.

    I don't notice it that much, except when my little girls run up to show me something they have created. And they hold it two inches away from my face.

    That's when I have to adjust *their* arms, the one holding the paper, away from my face.

    It sucks being 40 and losing the elasticity in your eyes, of all places. But you get used to it.

  5. too damn funny! i have worn glasses my whole life, and it seems that my eyesight is getting better! i think i may try that exercise since i'm now paranoid about the computer. thanks for the laugh today – i realy needed it :)

  6. same thing happened to me and i'm 25! they told me college was most likely the cause. and sadly, due to my lazy unfocused eyes, they tell me i can't wear contacts..

  7. Sitting at a computer most of the day has been really tough on my eyes so I sympathize. I didn't go to a doctor about it but I did change my computer habits, giving my eyes a break more often and things like that to help relieve the stress but I'm afraid I will need glasses before long and I've always had perfect vision. (don't hate me)

    I love Shana's suggestion about bribing your eyes with eye candy. Maybe I should try that. Wouldn't hurt, right? :)

  8. And I just thought my increasing blindness was because I was over 40. Now I realize it's a cruel combination – I about doubled my time in front of a computer when I hit 40. I wonder if those pencil push-ups would help me or if it's too late? I'm tired of reaching for my glasses every time I want to read something. Did she give you any more tips?

  9. HA HA! And just yesterday I emailed the MS peeps because they had their "Craft of the Day" wrong!

  10. Wait until you hit 52! I just recently got bifocals. Oh, my, what fun they are. I feel like a bobble head doll trying to get my eyes focused. You have to move your head to get the right area focused. I still cannot use them for the computer so I stick with cheapo glasses from Walgreens. The bifocals are amazing while driving. I can actually read signs before I get right up on them. So I no longer slam on brakes and make quick turns! lol And from a distance my trees actually have leaves. I thought they were just green blurs of color.

  11. I have the exact same issue!!! I wear contacts and my prescription is supposedly "too minor" for Lasik, but all I know is that I don't feel comfortable driving without contacts or glasses in. Yucky feeling for someone who's 30. I wonder how it'll change as I get older, since I don't see myself leaving this computer-job anytime soon. That pencil exercise tip is great. I'll have to start that (or, like you, now feel guilty for not doing it!).

    By the way, I'm sure everyone sends you notes asking, but I would love a Phil update to know how he's feeling and if you've heard anything else from the docs recently? He's been in my thoughts (as have you and the babies!).

  12. I routinely go to the ophthalmologist (not even a regular optometrist) because macular degeneration runs in my family. Every time I go, I'm sure my eyesight is getting worse and they're going to tell me I'm going blind, even though I've never needed glasses. Every time, the guy tells me that I spend too much time in front of a computer and that I should take periodic breaks during the day to stare down a long hallway, and I can't help thinking "you spent how many years in medical school and all you can do is tell me to stare down a long hallway?"

  13. Steph,

    Don't feel bad. I was legally blind for many years and decided to get lasik surgery. I couldn't see an inch past my face. After the surgery, I became very far-sided, which meant I still needed reading glasses. (Thankfully not bifocals just yet!)

    The surgeon I went to, who also did Tiger Woods' eyes said,
    "Your cornea is way too thin for us to operate, you'll need to sign a waiver so that we aren't responsible in case of blindness."

    I said, "Great, my corneas are too thin and my thighs are way too fat. I can't win!"

    Surgery went great. In fact, it's beyond 20/20 sight where if I look at my HD plasma, I see the cells.

    Sometimes too much of a good thing ain't that good! ;)

    Hope you're well!

  14. You're lucky. Only ONE of my eyes is lazy (like, maybe going to start wandering away lazy? Please no!) so my eye doc wants me to put on an eye patch from time to time.

    "You know, around the house, watching TV. Just give that lazy eye a workout."

    So I get to choose … pirate time at home, or wandering eye a few year's down the road.


  15. You're lucky. Only ONE of my eyes is lazy (like, maybe going to start wandering away lazy? Please no!) so my eye doc wants me to put on an eye patch from time to time.

    "You know, around the house, watching TV. Just give that lazy eye a workout."

    So I get to choose … pirate time at home, or wandering eye a few year's down the road.


  16. I'm only 25 and I'm going through a similar problem! Although without health insurance I really can't go see anyone about it. I'll have to try that pencil exercise.

  17. "… they caught it from my arms…" ahahahaha
    I think my whole system has been infected! the laziness is coursing through my body like an unchecked virus. I will have to be extremely inactive today to host this condition ; )

  18. Hilarious.
    As for laser surgery – I had it 10 years ago (and I did have LASIK which back then was a new technique) and had 20/15 vision the next day. It was absolutely amazing, but only lasted for a year. I've been wearing glasses/contacts for the last eight years. I guess all in all, it's still an improvement as my sight is far better than it used to be, but disappointing nonetheless… my advise for anyone considering surgery is to at least get some kind of guarantee which lets you do a touch-up if your sight gets worse.

  19. Totally unrelated to your post, but wanted to know if you have heard of twitter? Have you thought about opening an account so we can follow you there as well? It's not blogging but little snippets of your daily life. (less than 140 characters)

    FROM SK: Of course I twitter. Join me-

  20. How dare you blog about such inconsequential ridiculousness like your own eyesight after all that you've been through. I never realized how vain you really were. I'll never read this blog again!

    Sorry…I couldn't resist. :)

    I have wanted to get lasik forever and for the past 13 years, I've never once had the same prescription. I just gets worse and worse and I'm only 26. I don't want to know how much worse it can get.

  21. "I'd already filled up on a hearty plate of bitch toast, with spiteful syrup, and a dab of dastardly for breakfast."

    It's that kind of writing imagery that keeps me coming back here for more helpings.

  22. Hey steph, im catching up on reading like 20 back posts of greek tragedy today… on this note…my eye doctor suggested that i wear one contact and switch them off which ive been doing for a couple of years…it's like bifocals i guess…anyways…was weird at first…but works! i guess they call it old eyes…i HATE that term….

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