20-20-20 Rule

I’m sitting at my desk, starting to feel that familiar scratchiness in my eyes, then the stinging and watering. Later my vision goes fuzzy and I want to rub them so hard. I need to get this project done, the deadline is tomorrow!

How often does this happen to you? Do you know what to do to prevent it or help yourself when the symptoms hit?

Many thousands of people in today’s work or school environment deal with this without knowing what to do or what is happening. The culprit can be a smart phone, pad, laptop or desktop computer, or even a book!

One of the best ways to prevent this situation from occurring is the 20-20-20 method. This is a very simple method for preventing or decreasing the likelihood of strain, fatigue or dry eyes. Simply put take a break every 20 minutes by looking at something at least 20 feet away for a minimum of 20 seconds.

In doing this, you give your eyes and brain a chance to readjust and refocus. Other benefits to the 20-20-20 method include reducing head and neck strain. In addition, standing when looking 20 feet away helps by moving and stretching your muscles. Remembering to blink often while looking at the computer screen helps by lubricating the eyes and reduces the drying effect of computer use.

It may be helpful to keep a bottle of artificial tears next to the computer to remind yourself to blink to keep your eyes comfortable during a long work day. Applying artificial tears periodically can also be helpful, but make sure it is only a lubricant, not a redness reliever, and if you are using them more than 1-2 times per day, consider a preservative-free artificial tear.


Written by Bart W., Technician with Milwaukee Eye Care