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What is 20/20 rule?

Screen time is a big issue these days. You probably spend a good number of hours looking at screens, like your computer at work and at home, your smartphone, television, or other digital devices. Looking at screens too much can lead to eye strain. But the 20-20-20 rule may help.

If you find yourself gazing at screens all day, your eye doctor may have mentioned this rule to you.

Basically, every 20 minutes spent using a screen, you should try to look away at something that is 20 feet away from you for a total of 20 seconds.


Why 20 seconds?

It takes about 20 seconds for your eyes to completely relax.

While you’re resting your eyes, it’s also a good idea to get up and grab a drink of water to keep yourself hydrated. If your body is hydrated, your eyes will be as well.

Drinking green tea during your break may help even more. That’s because green tea contains antioxidants that may help your eyes produce tears for better lubrication.

Looking at digital devices won’t necessarily damage your eyesight. But it can cause strain and unpleasant symptoms. Humans normally blink around 15 times each minute. When staring at screens, this number decreases to a half or third that often. That can lead to dry, irritated, and tired eyes. Taking frequent breaks to look at faraway objects during screen time significantly lessened their eye strain symptoms. In other words, the 20-20-20 rule works.

What are other ways to prevent eye strain?


  • Revamp your work station. You should be close enough to high five the screen. Sit in your chair, extend your arm so your palm is resting comfortably on the monitor; it should be about 20-26 inches away. Good posture prevents an achy back, shoulders and neck.
  • Adjust your screen position. Reduce computer eye fatigue by positioning the screen directly in front of your face – never tilted – and slightly below eye level.
  • Get the right lighting. Reduce overhead and surrounding light; it competes with your screen and makes your eyes work harder to see. Use indirect light sources to reduce glare.
  • Personalize your computer display settings. Bump up the text size. Adjust the brightness. If the white background you’re reading looks like a light source, make the setting dimmer. If it looks dull and gray, make it brighter. You can even adjust the color temperature to reduce the amount of blue light emitted by a color display.
  • Schedule an eye exam.  Be sure to tell your doctor how much time you spend in front of a computer or device. Your eye doctor can evaluate any symptoms of digital eye fatigue, as well as discuss lens options or lifestyle changes for alleviating and protecting against future discomfort. Your eye doctor can evaluate any symptoms of digital eye fatigue, as well as discuss non-prescription glasses.
  • Get blue light lenses to view content on a digital screen. They’re available with or without a prescription.


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