The 20, 20, 20 rule

Your eyes may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think about looking after yourself, but when we spend a long time each day looking at a screen this can actually have a negative impact on our eyes.  When we look at a screen we blink 2 to 3 times less than normal. This leads our eyes to dry up. According to the NHS you may have dry eyes if your eyes are:

  • itchy

  • sore

  • gritty

  • red

  • blurry

  • sensitive to light

  • more watery than normal

To reduce your chances of getting this there are some things you can do.  Why not use the 20:20:20 rule when you are spending long periods of time looking at a screen? The RNIB advises us to:

‘Take frequent breaks from your screen. Your eyes can become tired when you use them for long periods. Taking frequent breaks from the screen can help to avoid tired eyes and headaches. The 20, 20, 20 rule suggests taking a break of at least 20 seconds, every 20 minutes and to look at least 20 feet away.’

This also helps your eye muscles relax and can reduce your chances of digital eye strain.

Symptoms of eye strain include:

  • Soreness of the eyes

  • Dryness and discomfort

  • Blurry, hazy vision

  • Sore back and neck

  • Double vision

  • Difficulty focusing and concentrating on objects

  • Sensitivity to light – both natural and artificial

  • Feeling a tight sensation in the temples and forehead

  • Frequent headaches such as migraines

To reduce eye strain, Opticians recommend that as well as following the 20, 20, 20 rule we can also give our eyes plenty of rest by shutting our eyes regularly. They also tell us to adjust the lighting in the room we are in to make sure it isn’t too dim, make sure our screens are at a suitable brightness and take lots of screen breaks.

Remember, if you are concerned about your eyes you should get help from a qualified professional.

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