The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

September 23, 2010

I Wish I Could See You

But I can’t because I’ve worn out my eyes in front of the computer, and I can’t see anything right now. Good thing I can touch type. But seriously, I need some help. My doctor suggested I go back to using the plastic-encased eye drops I used a few years ago when I had a cornea problem. So I did. And they didn’t even work. *Sigh*

Refresh Endura eye drops

Does that picture look blurry?  Because honestly I can’t tell.  My eyes refuse to focus.  Yesterday, I was looking at various fonts for a project I was working on, and I thought, “Ooh, that one looks nice.  It has a drop shadow under it.”  Um, a drop shadow that only I could see!

Some people would say I have Computer Vision Syndrome.  Eyes sore and red.  Double vision.  Headache.  I’ve had this problem intermittently for a few months now, but this week is the worst.  I know I need to lay off straining my eyes for a while.  But with the eye problems I’ve had in the past, I want a professional opinion to make sure it’s not something more serious, so I’m off to the eye doctor this morning, hoping he can fit me in. 

Will you help me???

Would any of you like to guest post here?  You could write anything to do with plastic: a cool plastic-free alternative you’ve found; challenges you’re encountering; a plastic-related issue that has you in a huff; or a cool company that is doing the right thing. Whatever.  Pictures are great too. 

I’m not sure how long I’ll have to lay off the computer.

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8 years ago

You guys need to try out Crocodile Tears. I do programming and I am on the computer 12 hours a day

Nova Lee
11 years ago

Beth, Chinese medicine is great at solving these sort of problems. In chinese medicine the eyes are related to the liver and the emotion of anger. It is all very connected. For herbs I recommend Dr. Zhang. For accupuncture I don’t have anyone right now but definitely worth looking into.
Good Luck…
Dr. Zhang
Hop Hing Herb Company
1027 Stockton Street
San Francisco CA 94108
Tel: 415 986-7899

12 years ago

Hi Beth,

I hope you’re finding some solutions to your eye problems. I began using Gunnar computer glasses about a year ago. I started having chronic issues with my eyes and could barely tolerate looking at the computer screen. I LOVE my Gunnar glasses! Putting them on is ahhhhhhhh, to my sore eyes. This is an adjunct to whatever you’re doing but it may be of help.

Also, Coastal Cleanup Day in Bodega Bay went famously! What a fun day we all had out at Bodega Dunes . . . my table was a HUGE hit ~ I can’t wait to do more in the future. I love educating people in a fun way that has them curious and excited.

I wish you the best of luck with your eyes. We all miss you out here . .. .

12 years ago




12 years ago

Hope there’s an easy way to resolve the eye issues Beth. I went through this a couple months ago, was sure my prescription must have changed dramatically. But no — the solution: wear my computer glasses whenever I use a computer be it desktop or laptop (bifocals with mostly midrange and close) and get a e-reader (e-ink really cuts down on the glare strain issues).
If your issues persist, I’m sure I can think up a good guest post but I don’t have time right now.
Feel better.

12 years ago


12 years ago

I know exactly what you are talking about, I sometimes have the same problem, where my eyes start to ache intensely.

For me, it is caused by a mixture of the following two things:

1) Excessively bright computer monitors.
2) Over use of black on white colour schemes.

To solve these problems, turn down the brightness of your monitor (or better, calibrate it) and switch to a white on black colour scheme. The following post describes how to do these things:

A computer monitor is NOT paper, by staring at a white monitor, you are essentially staring at a powerful rectangular light bulb.

Pam Wheelock
12 years ago

Hi Beth,
I have had dry eye problems on and off for years. Omega 3’s and other essential fatty acids have helped me. Here is a quick article which seems to give a good overview. Just in case you don’t want to read the whole thing– I basically take borage oil, primrose, flax, fish oil — not all at once but through out the week. I think variety helps and is more natural . I like Mountain Rose herbs for my oils. That article:

If you are interested in a post about plastics and pets I am your gal! Wishing you moist eyes soon!

12 years ago

I agree with everyone else. Take care of your eyes first. I can attempt a guest post, but since I started graduate school my own two blogs have lain fallow! But I am always looking at plastic alternatives, so if I find something interesting that you haven’t written about yet, I will something your way.

I’d like to point out, however, that as a journalist, I note that the story here is um, eye issues from the Computer Age. I’m actually having some relief from computer work because of the heavy reading load in my classes, the majority of which I am reading in hard copy, either books or print outs of journal articles.

I say try the speech recognition software and look out the window while you are dictating, then go back and edit. And get away from the computer. And I know you are working on a book, which you can also tape or write (you know with a pen and paper!) and pay someone to transcribe!

And once you go back to the computer, set a timer and get up every hour and walk around and look in the distance–out a window or go outside and peer into the horizon.

I hope you are better soon. We need your continued good works. And thanks all who posted alternatives to standard eye drops.

12 years ago

Just take care of yourself!! I’m sure you’ll have friends and readers lining up to guest post. It’s all for the greater good.

Scott Haas
12 years ago

Beth We e-mailed back and forth comparing eye troubles a couple years ago when I was writing my blog Least Footprint and had to stop too because of my eyes. Without going into details my condition cause my eyelids to get so swollen they ruptured. The doctor prescribed the little plastic drops,lots of time away from the computer and lots of hot packs on the eyes. If that didn’t work he said it was on to more potent stuff then if that didn’t work it would be surgery. Well, I’m kind of an all-natural guy that doesn’t care for drugs, needles and knives too much so I went in search of an all-natural cure instead. It took me quite a while to sort it all out but here is what I found that worked for me. I continued using the little plastic droppers for about a year and did the hot eye packs faithfully morning and night to help get the major inflammation down. At the same time I began taking the Liquid Herbal extract “Turmeric Chamomile” from Herb-Pharm in Williams Oregon. Whole Foods in your area probably has them. I took this three times per day in water by mouth and still take it but not every day now. Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory and the Chamomile is there to assist the Turmeric. This was not an immediate cure but the dryness and the inflammation in my eyes eventually went away mostly and I don’t even think about it much anymore. I still have rare occasions where it flares up; usually if I have been in a dusty or dry environment or get overtired; but I saw the doctor just a few months ago and he was a little amazed it had nearly completely gone away. He had said on my first visit I would be on the drops several times per day for the rest of my life and would never find relief from the dryness and swelling. My lids don’t click anymore form being dry like they did since I was a kid and I rarely use the little plastic drops anymore. I keep them on my desk for the times I do but that is very rare. The last batch expired before I used them up. I credit this to the Turmeric. So, hang in there. There may be a natural cure for your condition too. Google “Natural Eye Care”. There are a few good sites out there to find info. Llots of conditions come down to simply inflammation and Turmeric is great for that. I would be willing to guest post a few for you. I’m not as efficient at avoiding plastic as the Fake Plastic Fish; you are the unchallenged champion; but I still have that streak in me that cringes every time I find myself forced to buy plastic. And the spinning gyre in the Pacific; and now the Atlantic has been known to cause steam to rise from my scalp a time or two. Take care of yourself and get well. It may be a slow process but the body can heal itself if we give it the opportunity. Scott

12 years ago

I would love to guest post to help you out. Not sure how interested people would be, but since I am a recent convert only becoming aware within the past year of how my bad habits of 20 ounce sodas, fast food, and overly packaged children’s toy were hurting more than my body and wallet! I could write about the transition from never recycling to recycling, as we are just getting used to it here since our local company doesn’t recycle! They trash everything in one even when we separate out paper, plastic, and trash!

12 years ago

Oh no! That doesn’t sound like much fun at all. This may sound crazy, but have you tried palming? It’s basically extreme rest for your eyes. You close your eyes and cover them with the palms of your hands to completely block out the light. Most people suggest 30 minutes per day. I usually lie down and prop up my arms with pillows. It is SOOOO wonderful.

Hope it gets better soon!

12 years ago

Ok… so I may have found focus. Just talked to my pal Bonnie (The Plastic Ocean and she’d be interested in doing a guest post (she says we’d do it together)… she’s going to be traveling from Rio to Cape Town in November ( … we/she could come up with something to guest blog about… I’ll guarantee it’ll have something to do with plastics in the oceans…

Condo Blues
12 years ago

I have Dragon Naturally Speaking. It takes a little getting used to but it could be helpful to you.

I can do a guest post of my last plastic collection week. I only have FOUR ITEMS in my tally!

Ben Zolno
12 years ago

Wow, you have a lot of responses! Let me know if you need something from me. Check my blog, and feel free to use or comment on the plastic bag monster films I did for AB 1998 with/for Green Sangha!

Sandra Lee
12 years ago

Beth, I’m so sorry you are having these eye troubles. Please do take care and lay off. As ‘plastic’ is not my field, I can’t offer to guest post, but I will think of you and send loving, healing energy your way.

12 years ago

Hi Beth,
Hope the eyes get better soon. Hopefully all you need is some fresh air and natural light away from the computer screen but by all means go to the doctor to rule any sort of infection.

I have been thinking about doing a post about charity bottled water – you know those one’s that are endorsed by a celebrity or elite sports person basically selling water in a plastic bottle to raise money for a cause. There’s one particular here in New Zealand backed by a high profile rugby player. It’s just really gets me how some people who wouldn’t normally buy bottled water think that all the bad things about bottled water get cancelled out just because the particular brand will donated 50cents or something per sale to a charity.

12 years ago

I would but I can’t even get myself to start writing my own blog posts. I’d like to see a post about plastic free halloween candy (since I probably won’t get around to writing it myself), and maybe even low sugar or non-candy alternatives to give out. I just don’t know if I have the patience to do the research.

hope your eyes get better, I know how bad the computer is on the eyes!

12 years ago

Sorry to hear of your eye troubles Beth. I’ve worn contacts for over 30 years and have struggled at times with eye infections, double vision and almost continual redness. . . . I will keep positive thoughts about you finding a resolution.

I am putting together a table for Coastwalk CA as part of Coastal Cleanup Day this Saturday. I’ve taken Green Sangha’s theme, ‘Rethinking Plastic’ and used that as my guide. I intend to take photos of the day and I would love to share them on Fake Plastic Fish if that works for you.

I love (the other) Beth Terry’s comments and agree with her thoughts on your condition. Her suggestions for getting around staring at the screen for endless hours makes good sense. We need and appreciate your voice Beth, whatever we can do to help we will do. It’s good of you to ask.

all the best to you ~

12 years ago

Will be really happy to guest post.

As you know, we’re currently clearing our house out room by room, to make it plastic-free, starting with our kitchen.

I’d love to provide a guest post on the Plastic Free Kitchen if you want.

Let me know if you want me to (my email is at my blog if you don’t still have it, or contact me by FB), and I’ll send you a post on this and other plastic free issues we’re dealing with (like trying to live a plastic-free life with kids!)

Leanne XXX

12 years ago

As the ancient Greeks would say – everything in moderation, nothing to excess. I’ve found this so true in everything. Modern technology allows us to do anything and everything to excess and often more than one at a time.

For eye rest, I recommend taking those wonderful ThinkSound earbuds you got me on and listening to some classical music for at least 30 minutes at a time with your eyes closed and all gadgets turned off (such as cellphone, PDA, iPod). Right now, I’m going through a collection of Beethoven symphonies. Ahhhhhhhhh – no multitasking, just glorious sound that will ask nothing of your eyes…and the earbuds seal the ears so nicely that I can’t even hear the doorbell!

12 years ago

Beth – having had a cornea transplant, I know how important eye health is, so take care of it!!! I can suggest Dragon Naturally Speaking as a great voice recognition software that you can use to dictate to your computer (you kind of have to teach it how you pronounce words, but it does learn eventually). Plus, it’s kind of nice bossing your computer around for a change.. :)

I could guest post about trying to travel plastic free, since I just got back from a two-week trip to Spain and it was certainly challenging. Most bizarre and unnecessary use of plastic – a tiny plastic spoon stuck into the scoop of ice cream on my cone before I realized what the server was doing.

12 years ago

Oh man, I am so sorry, not that you can even read this easily, but I would love to guest post for you, anything. I have plenty of anti plastic crap vents to get off my chest, I could post about how it has been for a newbie trying to get off plastic.

Hope your eyes are much better soon!

12 years ago

I could guest post about finding plastic alternatives for children’s toys, clothing, etc. It’s become a passion of mine lately. Most things aren’t unfortunately plastic free, but the less plastic the better. Right?

Hope that your eyes get better soon. Prayers.

Jen on the Edge
12 years ago

Beth, the Eco Women would be happy to help with a guest post.

Hope your eyes feel better soon!

LInda Anderson
12 years ago

I’ll post for you. I was planning on blogging about the comic book, “The True Adventures of Foamy and Leafy”, two pieces of plastic that make their way to the Pacific gyre. It’s a really cute way to get the info out to kids. Let me know one way or the other.

Jennifer Wagner-Lawlor
12 years ago

Hi Beth, I agree with the other Beth Terry’s (!!) suggestion of the Similisan eye drops. Also: I could guest blog about something I’ve been thinking about: Women as consumers. Women are as far as I know still the main shoppers in a household (though happily my household is an exception). So maybe all us women-shoppers have a particular responsibility to take on the plastic pollution problem. Starting with ourselves: how many personal products do women use that come in plastic? I’m thinking of the creams and lotions, the makeup, the plastic applicators of tampons (BOO), the plastic that wraps the OB tampons, the disposable razors, all those prescription bottles — etc etc etc. What else? Should we make a group list of these kinds of things? Could do one for women and then one for men.

12 years ago

I feel your pain. I have been struggling with an eye infection for 3 weeks. I tried treating it myself with some holistic eye drops that I found at the store (glass bottle) but they did little good, so I I finally broke down and went to the Dr. yesterday. Although they were unable to tell me what is causing it, they did prescribe me with no less than 3 medications to treat it…. an antibiotic in case it’s an infection, an antifungal in case it’s a fungus, and an antihistamine in case it’s allergies (which I don’t think it is). Of course they are all in plastic bottles. I’m kind of at a loss since I don’t want to take all 3 medications, so I started off with the antifungal and it seems to be getting better, so I guess I will continue with that and see what happens. if it gets better I won’t use the others. Good luck. I hope your issue is resolved quickly and easily.

Pure Mothers
12 years ago

Beth – go take care of yourself. I am sure you will get many responses to guest post for you. And, your reader will still be here! Hugs from London.

Beth Terry (the other one)
12 years ago

Hey Beth – First off – go to the health food store and pick up Similasan eye drops. They come in a glass bottle with a plastic cap, so it’s at least less plastic. There are several versions of it, and it’s natural. Too many eye drops of the “commercial” brand can actually harm your eyes and make things worse.

Consider using the program that reads your email to you – the kind my sight-impaired friend uses. Then you can listen to your email. Most of us don’t look away from the computer enough, so in the same way our muscles in our forearms are shortened for computer typing (causing carpal tunnel syndrome), our eyesight suffers from not enough variation in range.

You are too important to go silent. Instead of typing, consider doing videos and talking into the camera.

My sense is that with all your recent activity, interviews, BlogHer, and the rest, you have worn yourself out. Your older posts also have merit. Have your sweet husband help you go back and find some good archived posts, then take a week off (Just like Letterman and Leno do) and post some “Best of FPF from the Archives.” We all love you and we understand! You won’t lose readers. Most of us have the attention span of my Chihuahua, so we don’t remember what you wrote a year ago anyway! LOL

If you want, I’d be happy to guest post (and REALLY confuse people!) It’s been 40 years since i first heard a life-changing question — “Where is AWAY? As in “I threw that AWAY.”” I was in college and just learning about water conservation and recycling. YES – FORTY YEARS ago. And where are we now? Not much further. But we’re making progress… Thanks to people like you.

Take care sistah,

12 years ago

I could totally guest post… not sure what I should write about… could be a rant how my brother took my kids to Wendy’s when we went to see Jason Mraz Tuesday… grr… Oh…. and I have to say how awesome it was that Jason Mraz promotes reusable water bottles (has for a long time) and even took time during his show to talk about why he doesn’t buy bottled water! We’re always talking about the “well-known” that advertise for bottled water… it’s nice to see those rally their fan base against them ;)

I’ve also been doing 20 minute clean-ups The Daily Ocean style and collecting cigarette butts… I’m on a mission to get smoking banned from my beach…BUT… my beach isn’t the only beach (or place for that matter) that has a problem with those little plastic filters. Last Saturday, I (with my husband and 3 kids) picked up 1,833 cigarette butts in 20 minutes. There are– OBVIOUSLY– a lot of misconceptions about cigarette butts and their environmental impact…what would happen if we stopped being quiet when we saw someone smoking and started educating them?? Hmmm….

can you even read this?? I should focus more. ;)

12 years ago

Oh, no! I totally feel your pain. In fact, only recently have I found some peace with my eyeballs. I was also prescribed eye drops in those wee plastic droppers. It would be so debilitating, I couldn’t even hardly open them until 1 p.m. – nearly on the dot. It made for some creative excuse fabrication for my job, which involved staring at a screen.

I think my problem had more to do with the dryness here in Colorado but I also found that using an eye pillow every night was the main source. I had to give it up, unless I am at sea level.

I’d be happy to guest post on investing in a ‘soda water maker’ to avoid buying plastic bottles of the stuff. (Bubbly water is my favorite thing.) Just let me know!