20-20-20 Rule For Eye Strain

(and how you can improve on it!)

You will no doubt of heard about the 20-20-20 rule... but what does it mean, and how do you follow it?

With so many lives dependent on computers, tablets, and even mobile screens, it’s easy to “get lost” in work or play and forget to take breaks. This can lead to everything from dry eyes to headaches and even body aches. The 20-20-20 rule is simple, easy, and completely effective, and you can do it at home, at work, or at play.

time 20 minutes while using a computer

Time 20 Minutes

When you’re watching TV, working at a computer, or playing a game on a tablet or mobile device, set a timer for 20 minutes. Numerous studies have proven that taking frequent breaks about 20 minutes apart can significantly reduce the risk and severity of computer eye strain and other problems associated with CVS. We offer a handy browser-based timer that can help remind you when it’s time to take a break.

look 20 feet way

Look 20 Feet Away

Once your 20 minutes is up, the second step is to look away from your screen at something 20 feet away to prevent focusing fatigue. Don't worry though, you don't have to be exact... in fact the premise here is simply to focus on something far away. It could be the end of your office or maybe even out of a window and across the street at a shop or tree. If that's not an option you can always walk to a suitable nearby location.

take a break for 20 seconds

Break For 20 Seconds

Each time you take a break from your screen, make sure it lasts at least 20 seconds. It could be longer, and it doesn’t have to be precise, but you need at least 20 seconds to allow your eyes to refocus and rest. During this time, you can stand up, take a drink of water, and anything else you may need to do to keep yourself comfortable as you work, rest, or play.

look 200 feet away

Looking 200 Feet Away!

While eye doctors have long advised their patients to look 20 feet away when taking a break from their screens, there’s new evidence to suggest that looking at least 200 feet away is even more beneficial. This helps your eyes move from one focal extreme to the other, which is even better at preventing computer eye strain. Opticians also agree that this is a great exercise for your eyes, and if you do it every 20 minutes, you can protect against other eye problems, too.

Our unofficial motto is something you should always consider when working, playing, or relaxing in front of a screen.


- Numerous studies have shown that people who are working in front of computers blink far less frequently than those who do not. When this happens, the natural lubricant (tears) on the surface of the eyes can evaporate more quickly, yet is not replenished as frequently. This can lead to dry, irritated eyes which may require eye-drops. During your 20-second breaks, try remembering to blink more frequently, and consider keeping your eyes closed for at least a full second for a few of those blinks.


- It’s easy for someone working at a computer to become dehydrated. After all, work becomes the focal point, and you don’t pick up on your body’s thirst cues. Staying well-hydrated while working will help you produce more of your body’s own natural tears, which can prevent irritation, redness, and dryness. There is even some evidence to suggest that green tea can boost your body’s production of natural tears.


- Last, make sure you take some time to think about ergonomics as this can play a vital role in eye strain, too. If you’re too close to the screen, or if your screen doesn’t offer settings that allow you to protect your eyes, then you’ll certainly feel it within a few hours’ time. Make sure the temperature is suitable, that there isn’t too much dust, and that any other materials you need to reference are at the same height as your screen.

Any information on the eyebreaks.com website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional medical advice. Please contact your nearest optician/eye doctor if you have any concerns about your eyes.

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