Your vision and the rundown on ‘digital detox’

a father and daughter using a digital tablet together at home

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 packages2 or are taking nature retreats with detox-friendly atmospheres.3

Try as we might, however, certain circumstances, like work, could prevent a complete power-down. But that doesn’t mean we can’t adapt our habits and avoid the potential effects of digital overexposure.

Experts recommend trying these tips:4,5

  • Take frequent breaks: Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds
  • Reduce overhead light to cut down on glare
  • Double check your posture to make sure there’s enough space between you and your computer, and that eyes are gazing slightly downward
  • Increase text sizes to add contrast
  • Stay hydrated: Drink water, break out your humidifier or use artificial tears to help when eyes feel dry (we blink 1/2 to 1/3 less while using digital devices6)

There are some lenses on the market that may help, too, like anti-reflective lenses or those featuring magnification.7

Talk with your eye doctor if you’re concerned about your digital habits. He or she can guide you in selecting both functional and fashionable options to relieve symptoms of digital eye strain.

  1. America’s smartphone addition, by Felix Richter, Statista June 20, 2018, Accessed October 2018.
  2. Canada has a digital detox camp for people who are addicted to their phones, by Michelle Cadieux, MTL Blog, July 13, 2018 Accessed October 2018.
  3. Adirondacks offer digital detox through time in the great outdoors, by Rosemary Feitelberg, WWD, July 19, 2018 Accessed October 2018.
  4. Digital eye strain. The Vision Council, Accessed October 2018.
  5. Computers, digital devices and eye strain. American Academy of Opthalmology, March 2016, Accessed October 2018.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Digital Eye Strain. The Vision Council, Accessed October 2018.