Do you often feel strain in your eyes especially while using smart devices or looking at digital screens? This is an alarm that your lovely eyes are degenerating and if you do not take good care of them, you might suffer blurry vision, weak eyesight, vision loss, headaches, etc. problems. Age is a prominent factor that causes macular degeneration but it is not the only cause. Increased eye strain these days is also a crucial cause. While you cannot stop using laptops and digital devices but you can do some eye exercises that reduce ill-effects of eye strain and one of the simples ways to prevent eye strain is the 20-20-20 rule. This golden rule can forestall repercussions of long exposure to blue light emitted from digital screens. Read ahead as Dr. Gaganjeet Singh Gujral, Senior Consultant, Sharp Sight Eye Hospitals explains the 20-20-20 rule and its benefits.
Eye strain effects
Excess digital screen time means less physical activity and less exposure to green (natural green colour), which makes the eyes soothing. The lack of physical activity also leads to rise in many life-style diseases including obesity, hypertension, diabetes and thyroid. All these diseases are related to our eyes as they affect our retina.
- Spending too many hours staring at a screen also causes low vision and at times temporary blindness too which ranges from couple of minutes to hours.
- Meanwhile, the effects of too much digital screen time on your eyes can be easily avoided if you take steps to reduce your eye discomfort.
The 20-20-20 Rule For Eye Strain
If you are someone who is bound to stare at screens for most time of the day, you must follow this 20-20-20 rule for eye strain. This is the simplest way to lessen damage to the eyes due to blue light and strain.
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- It is very simple to follow the rule.
- After 20 minutes of staring at a digital screen, look at some object placed at a 20 feet distance for 20 seconds.
- This is not a hard & fast rule but if you diligently follow it, you would experience the difference yourself.
- Following the 20-20-20 rule is a great way to remember to take frequent breaks.
- It helps to reduce eye strain caused by looking at digital screens for too long.
- It is advised that you should just try to focus on something far away from you. Consider looking out a window at an object that seems far away, like a tree or a building across the roads.
- If you work in a small space, try walking outdoors or into a larger area where you can rest your eyes and relax a bit.
The major benefit of 20-20-20 rule to reduce eye strain- The purpose of this rule is to minimize digital eye strain caused by long staring at computers, laptops, smartphones, televisions, tablets,etc.
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- To keep your eyes healthy, it is advised to blink often to keep the eyes moist and in case of dryness, it is advisable to use eye drops.
- An individual can also benefit from closing their eyes after every 20 minutes for 20 seconds.
- Other than this, blinking often is also helpful in promoting tear production to prevent dryness in eyes.
- Alternately, a person can sit farther away from their digital screens. A standard rule is to be at least 25 inches, or roughly an arm’s length, away.
- If possible, get a matte screen filter to your laptop screen that effectively reduces screen’s glare.
- Any individual who spends the day sitting should periodically get up and walk around, to prevent back and neck pains.
If the strain in eye persists after a person has tried using the rule and other methods of prevention they should see a doctor, who can check for underlying conditions such as chronic dry eye. An ophthalmologist may need to evaluate their vision and test the level of moisture in the eyes. When making recommendations, the eye doctor will take a person’s occupation and overall eye health into account. Continue your medication as prescribed and always feel free to reach out in case you need any clarifications.
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