Your vision and the rundown on 'digital detox'

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HEALTH & WELLNESS
image of this article's author, Joe Wende
Joe Wende
Senior Medical Director

It may not involve food or drink, but the latest detoxification trend sweeping the globe does involve something most of us consume in excess, and it hits us square in the eyes.


It’s called digital detox, and some may think of it as the ultimate luxury. More people, seeking to reclaim a life balance, are taking a break from digital devices for reasons that range from distraction-free family time to improved eye health.


Nearly half of U.S. smart phone owners have tried to limit their use, according to a 2017 survey by Deloitte.[1] Many go to physical lengths to do so — some are heading to camps that offer digital detox packages[2] or are taking nature retreats with detox-friendly atmospheres.[3]


Try as we might, however, certain circumstances, such as work, could prevent a complete power-down. But that doesn’t mean we can’t protect our eyes and overall health from the potentially harmful side effects of digital overexposure, including eye strain caused by the blue light emitted from devices. Several blue light-filtering eyewear options can help protect from common digital eye strain symptoms, even when a full detox from your screens isn't possible.


And with vision benefits, employees can protect their eyes affordably while looking on-trend. Here’s how.


Detoxing the blues


First, a brief lesson on blue light, a part of the visible light spectrum. Blue-violet light rays derive naturally from the sun but also from digital devices like computers, tablets, smartphones and energy efficient indoor lighting. Research indicates that prolonged exposure to these sources of blue light can cause eye strain and may contribute to the early onset of age-related macular degeneration (AMD),[4] the gradual loss of clear sight.


In measured doses, blue light is actually good for us. It regulates our sleep by suppressing the production of melatonin during the day and helps boost alertness and improve our memories.


Problem is, many of us screen-gaze in very high doses. Other sources of blue light include flat-screen TVs and fluorescent lighting, so you can see how the exposure adds up.


All of that translates to a lot of demand on the eyes — 65% of us suffer from digital eye strain,[5] including dryness, irritation and blurry vision.

Here's more from a past blog I wrote on blue light and helping employees protect their eyes.


Filtering out the blues


Fortunately, people have options to reduce eye strain symptoms from digital screens when powering down isn’t feasible. Here are 3 blue light-filtering eyewear tips than can help our eyes.


And here’s a bonus tip: Because we know blue light is a part of your everyday life, EyeMed has updated our vision benefits to include options for purchasing lenses with blue light-filtering technology.


These are benefits everyone can enjoy. Because when we give our eyes a digital detox, we’re likely to sleep better, become more alert and productive — all while looking stylish.


For more information on vision benefits for blue light from EyeMed, you can download this fact sheet. Contact your EyeMed account rep for more details or, if you’re not working with EyeMed, visit this site to let us know how we can contact you.



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1: “America’s Smartphone Addition,” by Felix Richter, Statista June 20, 2018, https://www.statista.com/chart/12403/smartphone-addiction/
2: “Canada Has A Digital Detox Camp For People Who Are Addicted To Their Phones,” by Michelle Cadieux, MTL Blog, July 13, 2018
https://www.mtlblog.com/news/canada-has-a-digital-detox-camp-for-people-who-are-addicted-to-their-phones
3: “Adirondacks Offer Digital Detox Through Time in the Great Outdoors,” by Rosemary Feitelberg, WWD, July 19, 2018
https://wwd.com/eye/lifestyle/adirondacks-offer-digital-detox-1202761353/
4: “Ultra-violet and Blue Light Aggravate Macular Degeneration,” American Macular Degeneration Foundation, https://www.macular.org/ultra-violet-and-blue-light

5: “2016 Digital Eye Strain Report,” The Vision Council, https://www.thevisioncouncil.org/digital-eye-strain-report-2016.; “New Report Finds 65% of Americans Suffer from Digital Eye Strain,” Rebuild Your Vision, https://www.rebuildyourvision.com/blog/vision-conditions/computer-vision-syndrome/new-report-finds-65-of-americans-suffer-from-digital-eye-strain/
6: “Light and Eye Damage,” by Gregory W. Good, O.D., Ph.D., American Optometric Association, December 2014