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After or during a long day of working at a computer, have you experienced any of the following problems?

  • sore, tired or burning eyes
  • blurred or double vision
  • watery, itchy or dry eyes
  • headaches

If you have, it’s likely the result of eye strain, which happens when your eyes get tired from intense use. Fortunately, it can be remedied with a helpful trick called the 20-20-20 rule:

Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

The 20/20/20 rule was popularized by Dr. Jeff Anshell, a specialist in “vision ergonomics.” Watch him in this TV news segment explain how to combat computer eye strain.

Want to take it to the next level?
If you’re willing, and your schedule allows, challenge yourself to not only look away from your computer screen every 20 minutes, but to actually get up and move around. Stand to make a phone call. Stretch to file paperwork. Stroll to grab a cup of coffee.

The point is: just get moving! Not only will moving around reduce eye strain, but it keeps you active during an otherwise sedentary period, increasing alertness and leading to higher productivity.

We challenged our readers to try out the 20-20-20 rule and here’s what they said:

Nell:
“Wow this really works! Don’t usually have eye strain but this certainly works to lighten your mood and concentrate better! :)”

Brian:
“Thank you for this great tip for preventing eyestrain. As I get older, I was thinking strain was due to age. Nice to know it is associated with intense use and can be remedied.”

Georgia:
“I have wonderful picture windows in front of me where I work so this is a rule that is easy to follow – as long as I stop to do it.”

Computer usage is likely to cause only temporary eye irritation, and no permanent damage, but consult an eye care professional anyway. Eye drops or artificial tear lubricants may take care of symptoms. Or for maximum viewing comfort, you may need computer glasses with a special prescription, or lens coating and tint.

Have you tried the 20-20-20 rule? Does it work for you?

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