Reduce eye strain with the 20-20-20 Rule

The 20-20-20 Rule is simple. Every 20 minutes you spend using a screen, look away at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. 20 feet for 20 seconds is the optimal distance and time to allow your eyes to relax.

Do you stare at a screen all day?

As we all know, starting at a screen causes eye strain. When you do this too long and too often, your eyes may not be able to recover. This eye strain is often called computer vision syndrome (CVS) and can cause headaches, fatigue, dry eyes, and long-term damage.

The 20-20-20 Rule

The 20-20-20 Rule is simple. Every 20 minutes you spend using a screen, look away at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. 20 feet for 20 seconds is the optimal distance and time to allow your eyes to relax.

How to do it

  • Set a timer for 20 minutes.
  • When the timer goes off, look away from your screen and at something for 20 seconds.
  • Repeat.

Other Benefits

There are many other benefits to this technique.

  • 20 seconds is not very long. You can continue thinking about what you are working on without losing focus. I've found that stepping away for a few seconds can help me think through a problem.
  • Stretch your body.
  • Take a drink of water.
  • The reminder can give you a sense of time, which is helpful when you're writing, coding, or doing other work where you get focused on a task. A gentle reminder can be enough to know you need to wrap things up and move on to the next thing or even take a more extended break.
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