THE 20/20/20 RULE

Chan Optometry |

More and more our society is geared towards electronics and the thing us optometrists like to call “near work”. Essentially, near work is anything you look at from arm’s length distance to your nose. That includes anything and everything, from iPad, computer, laptop, phones, tablets, books, and yes, even sewing and knitting. What happens is that the longer you spend doing these types of near tasks, the slower your blink rate. Think of it like a staring contest between whatever you are looking at and you. Unfortunately, you and your eyes will always lose.

The longer you go between blinks, the higher the occurrence of your tear layer drying out. Think of your eyelids like reverse wind shield wipers. Instead of wiping out the water (or rain), your eyelids actually replenish the tear layer on the front surface of your eyes every time you blink. Thus, the less you blink, the easier it is for your tears to evaporate and your eyes to dry out.

The 20/20/20 rule is simple to remember. After 20 minutes of prolonged near work, take a break for 20 seconds. Look at something 20 feet away. The break allows you to blink a little more; moving your eyes will make them naturally blink. Looking 20 feet away actually relaxes the focusing muscles of your eyes, similar to putting down heavy groceries for a couple of seconds before picking them back up. The 20/20/20 rule is usually recommended to anyone and everyone for not only good eye hygiene, but it’ll also help your eyes feel less tired at the end of the day!

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