Optometrists group encourages daydreaming to fight eye strain

Campaign from Edelman encourages Canadians to practice the "20/20/20" rule

In an effort to combat Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), a condition caused by prolonged computer, cell phone and tablet use, the Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO) is urging people to take a break from their screens and give their eyes a much needed rest.

Developed by Edelman in Toronto, “Daydreams” is designed to drive awareness of CVS, which can can cause headaches, dry eyes, and neck and shoulder pain, and encourages Ontarians to visit their optometrists for a comprehensive eye exam.

“Just because you have 20/20 vision doesn’t actually mean you have healthy eyes,” said Jordan Doucette, national executive creative director at Edelman. “The only person who can tell you if you have healthy eyes is your optometrist. With everybody looking at screens pretty much all of the time…your eyes are becoming fatigued. You might see that in itchy eyes, blurred eyes- it’s kind of the equivalent of doing exercise and never stopping if you never look away from your screen.”

To prevent and reduce the effects of CVS, the OAO recommends using what it calls the “20/20/20” rule. The key is to look away from your screen every 20 minutes, for 20 seconds, and focus on something that’s 20 feet away.

To help illustrate the rule, Edelman created five animated 20-second videos, titled “Forest” “Tree” “Train” “Closet” and “El Dorado.” Each spot takes the viewer on a lighthearted, mini fantasy; finding a box with the perfect pair of red suede pumps inside, or discovering a “silver fox” wearing a perfectly tailored suit. Since the goal is to get people to look away from the screen, the videos use simple imagery and rely heavily on sound effects to induce a peaceful reverie.

“For us creatively, the challenge was how do you tell people to look away from their screen using nothing but digital media?” Doucette said. “We did it in such a way that you’re actually not looking at the work, you’re listening to the work. We’re challenging people to look away and think about something fun, and we’ll get you started with five sample daydreams.”

The campaign is targeted towards women 35-54, since they’re typically the one in the family who makes health care appointments for themselves, their partners, their children and even their aging parents, Doucette added.

The OAO is promoting the campaign on its social channels, and via digital and radio ads. The videos are also running in Cineplex theatres across the province.

“Daydreams” runs until the end of June, and will re-launch in October to coincide with Children’s Vision Month. Edelman handled media buying and PR.

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