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Use the 20-20-20 Rule to Relieve Eyestrain

woman with eye strain from working on the computer too long, rubbing her eyes

Eyestrain is one of the most common complaints among computer users. Fortunately, a simple trick can help remedy the issue: the 20-20-20 rule. Here’s how it works.

Burning and itchy eyes, blurred vision, and headaches are some of the symptoms often experienced by individuals who clock long hours in front of a screen. It’s so common, especially among office workers, that the grouping of symptoms has a name: Computer Vision Syndrome.

The most obvious way to fix the issue is to take breaks to relax your eyes, but that’s not always an option. Imminent deadlines, conference video calls, or engaging video lectures can keep you glued to the computer without a chance to take the time to completely unwind for a few minutes.

That’s when the 20-20-20 exercise comes to the rescue: Every 20 minutes, stare at objects 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds. Doing so gives your eyes much-needed rest and helps prevent strain.

To boost the restorative power of this trick, try to find green objects to stare at. In fact, our eyes perceive the color green better than other color, and research indicates greens, especially darker greens like foliage, are relaxing to look at—certainly more relaxing than the off-white color of your office walls. With that in mind, it’s not a bad idea to take a break from the stimulating (and eye-straining) intense blue-spectrum light of your computer monitor and find plants in the room or trees outside the window to look at.

If your schedule allows it, take it to the next level and go for a quick walk around the office or the house. This will give your whole body a break from sitting down. Plus, your pupils will get some good exercise by looking at a variety of objects during your walk and at distances farther than your workspace allows.

Carla Cometto Carla Cometto
Carla has been writing professionally for five years and blogging for many more. She's worked as a journalist, photographer, and translator. She's also an avid traveler who hopes to inspire a sense of curiosity and adventure in others through her writing. Read Full Bio »
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