20-20-20 Rule to Prevent Eye Strain

In this digital era, everyone complains about eye strain, because of the intense use of digital equipment. Nowadays everyone across the globe is focused on sustainability and environmental preservation to provide a good life for the next generation. As responsible human beings, people initiated a reduction in the use of paper and chose digital equipment as an alternative which helps a lot in the reduction of paper use but increases some other risks.

Digital devices like mobile or laptops are used widely across the world is one of the reasons behind eye strain or other eye-related issues. Currently From children to older everyone is addicted to mobiles and laptops because of that they spend long hours in front of a screen which resulted in eye strain. Almost 90% of People who are working in IT industries or in offices complain about these issues. This affects the performance of individuals and disturbed their mental health, to avoid such types of issues many companies define the screen time of their workers. All devices are automatically shut down if screen time increases beyond some defined threshold.

People who spend more than two hours on screens on regular basis have more risk of this situation. In the United States of America, almost 87% of people spend more than 2 hours on one or more digital devices as per the reports of The Vision Council.

Eye strain can be easily avoided by taking care. In most cases, it isn’t serious and goes away by taking a rest. In very few cases it required special treatments from doctors.

Eye strain due to digital devices is known as computer vision syndrome (CVS) or digital eyestrain (by The American Optometric Association).

Some common reasons why eye strains are more while using computers over print material

  • All digital devices have glare or reflection
  • Eye blinking is a mechanism set by nature to moist our eyes but while using mobile or computers blinking is less
  • Operating digital devices from less distance
  • Using digital devices with poor posture
  • Working in less brightness
  • Inadequate colors and contrast increase the level of strain
  • Working continues without breaks

Eyestrain symptoms

  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Red eye
  • Eye irritation
  • Itching eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Photophobia (sensitive to light)
  • Unable to concentrate

To avoid eye strain simply follow the 20-20-20 rule which is quite simple and more effective. This rule is globally adopted and recommended by doctors to their patients who are continuously facing problems with eyes discomfort

What is the 20-20-20 rule?

This rule is so simple and you may hear from your eye doctors if you have any issues related to eye strain. This rule is made by using three times the number 20 and each of them has some different aspects let’s understand

1st 20- for Screen time – 20 minutes

2nd 20- for a distance of 20 feet

3rd 20- for Staring 20 seconds

20-20-20 Rule: After every 20 minutes of working against the screen (screen time) see something away from 20 feet for 20 seconds.

The 20-20-20 rule suggests a 20-second break after every 20 minutes of screen time. During the break, a person must focus on objects which are 20 feet away. It can help in relaxing the eye muscles which are in strain due to concentrating on the screen from hardly 1-2 feet distance. Some study has shown that person who focuses on nature (plants, greenery, water, sky, etc.) are getting fast relief.

Why break after 20 minutes and how to remind it?

Blinking is very important to hydrate eyes, but it is evident in different studies that eye blinking is less while using digital devices which resulted in eye strain. Normally our eyes blink 15 times in minutes but while using digital screens they only blink 5 to 7 times in minutes. 20 minutes is an ideal time found in different analyses to avoid eye strain.

You can set an alarm (reminder) for every 20 minutes or can use some mobile application that is available in markets that remind you every 20 minutes

How can you identify an object which is 20 feet away?

It is almost impossible to measure distance without measuring taps, but it is not necessary to be exact. Keep trying to focus on objects which are far away from you, it may be building, roads, vehicles, trees, water, mountain, etc. While working on computers or mobiles our eye concentrate from the same distance for long hours so it got irritating. While you focus on an object which is situated far away, your eye breaks its focus at a small distance and gets relaxed.

Why 20 seconds?

20 seconds is enough to change focus and relax our eye muscles.

Does 20-20-20 rule prevent Eye strain?

American academy of ophthalmology and American optometric Association both of them is recommended this rule to relieve form eye strain

The study by Nepalese Journal of ophthalmology found that 89.9% of students at 5 Malaysian universities witnessed CVS (Computer Vision Syndrome) after using 2 hours of screen

Many studies suggest frequent breaks while using computers to reduce eye strain.

Some other ways to reduce eye strain

  • Use eyedrops as per the advice of doctors to hydrate your eyes while long working hours
  • If you feel stressed, try to blink more
  • Keep your screen straight to your eyes
  • Use glare protectors on the screen
  • Keep your screen clean, a dirty screen can strain
  • In break try to stand from your desk, initiate a walk, or drink water or tea/coffee
  • Use anti-glare goggles
  • Regular eye checkups

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