Do you suffer from headaches, blurred or double vision, and increased light sensitivity when reading or staring at your computer for too long? If so, you could be experiencing eyestrain. Here’s how the 20-20-20 rule can help keep the discomfort at bay.
If you haven’t noticed, people blink between 10 and 20 times per minute each day. Blinking plays a role in providing even lubrication over your eyes. This keeps them from becoming dry and irritated. But if you’re doing close work like reading, driving, or working on a computer, you tend to blink far less often. This causes eyestrain.
The American Optometric Association recommends that you apply the 20-20-20 rule to prevent and manage eyestrain. This means that every 20 minutes, you have to look at an object from 20 feet away for 20 seconds. You can look at something from afar or look out of your window and focus on a tree. It’s a great way to give your eyes a break. The key is to provide them with a chance to relax multiple times a day. Studies show that staring at something during breaks from computer work can ease digital eye strain symptoms.
The 20-20-20 rule is simple, but it’s easy to forget it. It would be best if you set a timer every 20 minutes. Using a mobile application is also highly recommended. But a usual eight-hour workday means 24 eyeball breaks. That’s too much for those who struggle with sticking to deep focus mode. The frequent breaks every 20 minutes will only likely disrupt your workflow.
If the 20-20-20 rule isn’t working out for you, here are a few ways you to adapt it. You may start practicing the 20-20-20 rule only for half a day. Just pick morning or afternoon, and commit to taking all of the necessary breaks every 20 minutes. As you get better at re-establishing your focus, you can gradually add more eyeball breaks. Although it may not work quite as effectively, a 40-40-40 rule may also be a good alternative. It offers the right balance between preventing eyestrain and your focusing needs.
If your eyes still itch or tire out even after following the 20-20-20 rule, you can try other tricks to reduce eyestrain. These include minimizing glare on your digital screen and from light reflecting off surfaces. It would help to set up anti-glare screen protection on your computer display and paint your white walls darker, if possible. Eye strain can also be due to excessively bright light that comes through your window. Close the blinds or curtains to reduce exterior light. You may also lessen interior lighting by using lower-intensity light bulbs. When using your computer, ambient lighting is crucial to avoid eye fatigue. Another way is to adjust the display settings of your computer. These include brightness, text size, contrast, and color temperature. You have to blink more often and integrate some eye exercises now and again.
More importantly, you have to visit your eye doctor for a routine comprehensive eye examination. Has it been over a year since your last checkup? Schedule your consultation today with Family Eye Care Centers to determine any vision changes. You may call any of our offices in Sandusky, Huron, or Clyde, Ohio, at (419) 954-0300, (419) 273-6766, or (419) 273-6857 for more information.