The Beauty of Visual Deprivation

The Beauty of Visual Deprivation

by Brian Chou, OD, FAAO, FSLS

  • January 9, 2022


A popular assumption is that depriving clear vision is bad. Yet why do some – particularly those that are highly dependent on eyeglasses or contact lenses – value taking off their corrective eyewear and relaxing in blurriness?

Blurry Vision is Relaxing for Some

These patients describe that taking off glasses and contact lenses feels like loosening up the necktie and changing into sweatpants. It’s like going from the rigidity of work-mode to easing into the comfort of tranquility at home, a boundary challenged today by the work-from-home paradigm.

An Escape from Overstimulation

The answer for why some favor blurry vision may lie in our world of constant distractions. Our interruptions in attention by text and e-mail notifications collectively tax our sensibilities. The sounds and buzzes are often unimportant yet urgent, and deplete our finite attention, making us uncomfortable. That is why we recoil from further sensory stimulation, seeking shelter by walling ourselves off. Perhaps this is the reason why tech workers in Silicon Valley have turned to mindfulness and meditation, including sensory deprivation.

Floating in Sensory Deprivation

In support of this hypothesis, there is consumer demand to escape overstimulation with sensory deprivation chambers. Also called float tanks, you pay to lie in complete darkness in a high salinity tepid water with ear plugs.

For those highly dependent on vision correction, like many with keratoconus, taking off glasses or contact lenses provides partial sensory deprivation. So, while it is not completely like going into a sensory deprivation chamber, it can provide some escape from visual overstimulation.

If you relish in taking of glasses or contact lenses, know that laser vision correction could take this simple pleasure away.

Childhood Vision Deprivation Potentially Problematic

Short term visual deprivation may have benefits for adults.  However, parents should know that long term visual deprivation during childhood can lead to amblyopia or improper vision development.

ReVision Optometry in San Diego is a referral-based practice providing medical contact lens services for patients with keratoconus and other complex eye conditions.  Request an appointment online or call 619.299.6064.