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Preventing Digital Eye Strain with the 20/20/20 Rule

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Are you finding yourself glued to screens all day long? If so, your eye doctor may have mentioned the "20/20/20" rule to you. This rule suggests that for every 20 minutes you spend using a screen, you should try to look away and focus on something that is 20 feet away from you for a total of 20 seconds. But what's the reasoning behind this rule and how can you implement it in your daily routine? Let's find out.


Determining the exact distance of 20 feet might be challenging without a tape measure, but precision isn't the key here. The goal is to shift your focus to something in the distance. You can try looking out of a window at an object that appears far away, such as a tree or a building across the street. If you work in a confined space, stepping outdoors or finding a larger area where you can rest your eyes can be beneficial.


Now, you might wonder why the duration for looking away is set at 20 seconds. It takes approximately 20 seconds for your eyes to fully relax. During this time, it's also a good idea to grab a drink of water to keep yourself hydrated. Adequate hydration is important for your overall eye health as well.


To help you remember to follow the 20/20/20 rule, consider setting a timed reminder every 20 minutes. This can be especially helpful if you tend to get absorbed in reading or work while looking at screens. There are also free apps available, like Eye Care 20 20 20, that can send reminders to take a break from screen time.


Eye strain can manifest as sore, tired, burning, or itching eyes. Other symptoms may include dry eyes, watery eyes, blurred or doubled vision, headaches, neck or shoulder soreness, light sensitivity, trouble concentrating, and difficulty keeping the eyes open. If you experience any changes in your vision or eye health, it's a good idea to report them to your doctor.


Remember, while eye strain from screens can be uncomfortable, it's typically temporary and unlikely to cause permanent damage to your vision. By incorporating the 20/20/20 rule and implementing these other preventive measures, you can help alleviate eye strain and maintain healthy eyesight.


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* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.