The other day, things starting going kind of swimmy on me. When I looked out the window at lunch, birds looked fuzzy and I could hardly tell a finch from a thrush. My cat, who was hunting in the field, looked more like a lopsided marshmallow that had been burned in a couple of places than he usually does. I asked Daughter if it was misty out and she assured me that it wasn’t, so I decided a visit to the optometrist was in order if I still had “this vision thing” the next morning.
I still had it when I looked out the window at breakfast, and it was worse, actually. A hummingbird zoomed up to the window and I couldn’t tell if it was male or female until it started fighting with its reflection, which gave me a clue. Anyone else ever notice how male hummingbirds seem to spend almost all their time fighting? One wonders how the heck they get enough to eat or produce next year’s crop of hummingbirds. But I digress.
Dr. G had an opening so I hustled down to the mall to get my eyes examined. She said everything was fine – or as fine as it gets for someone who is legally blind in one eye without her glasses.
“Have you been doing a lot of close work?” She asked. “Do you spend more than two hours a day on the computer?”
Sheesh, 22 hours would be more like it, some days, and I told her so. She shook her head.
“Well, you have a temporary condition caused by too much straining to look at a computer screen,” she said. “It’s called “Computer Vision Syndrome” and it makes your vision “swimmy” as you put it, for objects that are farther away than your monitor. It’s because you’re sort of clenching the muscles in your eyes to focus. It can last for a day or even longer after you leave the computer and the only thing that helps is fewer hours in front of that blue screen.”
I told her that I have to spend hours in front of my computer, because I’m a writer and asked her if there wasn’t something else I could do to help.
“Well, you can try taking frequent breaks to walk outside and focus on something way off in the distance for a few minutes. That might make your eyeballs “unclench” so to speak.”
So, I drove home, trying not to clench my eyeballs. When I got there, I noticed a fresh mouse carcass in the yard, compliments of my cat, Benny, no doubt. He usually eats the rodents he catches, but the hunting is so good in the summer time, that he sometimes leaves one for the dog whose digestion just isn’t up to mouse tartare any more, so we try to dispose of them before she finds them.
But, I remembered, as I picked up the mouse by its tail, I was supposed to be focusing on the distance, so I looked off into the trees in the side yard, willing my eye muscles to relax and unwind, as I hurled the mouse up and into the air. Because I was looking off into the distance, I didn’t realize where it had landed, at first. Then I looked up at the garage roof and there it was, looking very odd and out of place. Daughter came out to join me just then and I showed her what had happened. She’s softhearted about critters, but has gotten somewhat inured to Benny’s turning our yard into a slaughterhouse. She loves the little creep.
However, like me, she thought the mouse on the roof motif was pathetic and creepy at the same time. I mean, who has a dead mouse on their garage roof? Owls? Actually, an owl is what we need right now or I’m going to have to dig out the roof rake that we use to get snow and ice off the roof and use it to get the late mouse down. I’ll give it a couple of hours and see if an owl or hawk or – hey, maybe a turkey vulture or crow – will get it first, so I don’t have to.
In the meantime, I’m sitting here, staring over my laptop screen through the window into the distance, typing as far away from the keyboard as I can, given the length of my arms, and trying not to clench my eyeballs. For some reason, I just realized, that makes me grit my teeth and I’m beginning to get an ache in my jaw. I suppose I’ll be off to my dentist next to be told that I have some other syndrome you get from trying not to clench your eyeballs while typing with your arms extended. There’s always something.