These Eyes Can’t Read Your eBook – And I’m Sorry!

When I turn down eBooks (even free ones), don’t think it’s because I don’t want to read your book(s)!
Back in 2011, I was hospitalized for 6 days with meningitis.
I wasn’t supposed to survive, let along be able to see again. The damage to my eyes from optic nerve swelling was pretty bad, but I healed for the most part.
Two weeks after I went home from the hospital, I could barely move my eyes. Now, years later, I still can’t strain my eyes without getting a migraine.
Sunny days can give me migraines.
A flashlight in my eyes can set off a migraine.
It sucks.
Is it a surprise, then, to find that I can’t stare at screens for extended periods of times?
Knowing that I am a writer, I imagine many of you are asking, “Well, then, how do you write?”
This part makes me feel silly, but hey, I’ve finished books this way!


I focus on the space between the numbers, 5 & 6, and the letter T.
I write, then when I get to a certain point, I look up and edit what I wrote.
Sadly, this means I can’t read Ebooks. They do me more damage than good. So please don’t hate me when I kindly refuse an ebook (I will be kind!). I don’t even own an eReader. I will, however, accept any paperbacks.
*wink wink, nudge, nudge*


  1. Hi Lilian! Found you through your J.K. Rowling article. Have you tried the Type-to-Speech feature for ebooks? (I have not but my friends recommend it highly). I always enable it for anything I produce because I do keep in mind that not everyone has perfect vision. Sorry to hear about your rough experience!


      1. You’re welcome! Accessibility issues are important to me. My husband is disabled; he can’t hold a book or an ebook for long so he has come to rely on this technology quite a bit. Incidentally, when I mentioned this discussion to him, he suggested that you might find an ereader easier than a computer or phone screen. Many models are deliberately designed *not* to be backlit (to reduce eyestrain). My old-fashioned Sony reader is one such model. Which means, of course, that just like a proper paper book, you couldn’t read it in the dark. Maybe that would help too? I am sure that many authors would love to share their books with you, but it costs almost as much to ship a paper book as it costs to get the book, so it’s prohibitive. At any rate, I think this is an important point, and you are by no means alone; people with brain injuries, people who are autistic, and people with a wide variety of eye damage can find light exposure equally problematic. Indie authors should keep this in mind, and I shared your article. Thank you for pointing it out, because often people who do not struggle with such problems just don’t understand how challenging they can be, or how to help.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Thank you so much for sharing and for the suggestion! I’ve seen a reader with no backlight, and I’ve thought of it, but I haven’t taken to time to REALLY look closely. A part of my brain wants to say, “it’s still looking at a screen.” lol I might have to make a quick trip to a store to look at one.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I agree with Sable Aradia – ebook readers with e-ink screens, like Kindle and Kobo and Nook, are really different from backlit screens like computers and tablets. They really are just like reading a paper book, and the advantage is that you can change the font to whatever size is easiest for you to read!


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