What do you call it when you have perfect clairvoyance and can predict everything that’s going to happen in the next decade? Well, you call it 20/20 2020 vision!*
If you have that incredible gift, you don’t need to read the rest of this post; you have better things to be doing with your time. For the rest of us, it’s worth looking into the things we can predict, and one of those things is the consequences screen use can have on your eyes. There’s a collection of symptoms caused by screens, known under the name of “computer vision syndrome” or “digital eye strain”. Screens can cause headaches, blurry vision, eye strain, and other irritating problems.
There is a solution, and like my joke, it’s all about 20s. The 20-20-20 rule is great if you’re in your 20s, or any other age category, and it works like this: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away from your screen for 20 seconds. This rule should work to help you relieve digital eye strain symptoms so long as what you’re looking at 20 feet away isn’t another screen.
There are a few great ways of following this rule, other than its amazing name. First, finding something exactly 20 feet away shouldn’t stress you out enough to fish out the tape measure; just look at something that seems pretty far away (and, want to emphasize here, that’s not a screen). With the 20 seconds, shooting over the target isn’t a big deal, but waiting for at least that long is important because it gives your eyes enough time to relax. You can set a 20 minute timer or install apps to help with digital eye strain that can keep you on track. The most important thing to remember, though, is that doing it some is better than doing it none. If you’re looking at an object 15 feet away every half an hour, it’s still better than spending 4 hours staring at a screen.
Get up and walk around, grab a glass of water! We’ll still be here when you get back.
Vision health aside, it’s worth remembering that we can oftentimes neglect our own health when engrossed in whatever screen viewing we’re engaged with. When you get up to grab a glass of water, or another coffee, or a sandwich, you’re giving your eyes time to rest; they’re engaged in different patterns of movement, and you’re more likely to blink more often. Consider the ergonomics of your desk, both physical and visual; see if you can make any adjustments to screen placement.
You may practice healthy screen habits and still experience eye strain or headaches. If this is the case, you may need corrective lenses or an update to your prescription. For eyeglasses Winnipeg residents can get to correct their vision and look good, check out Eyes in the Village.