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20-20-20. Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

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American workers spend, on average, seven hours a day staring at their computer screens, according to the American Optometric Association.1 Adding in the time spent looking at tablets and phones only elevates this significant figure.

Prolonged exposure to digital content can lead to Computer Vision Syndrome, which carries common symptoms such as eyestrain, blurred vision, and headaches. These symptoms can be exacerbated if combined with poor lighting, glare, poor posture, and other factors.

Why isn’t there a Book Vision Syndrome?

Reading information from digital screens is different than from a book. Oftentimes, it makes our eyes work harder, namely:

  1. Letters on a device may not be as sharply defined, may be poorly contrasted, or may be impacted by glare.1
  2. The device’s refresh rate may be low, causing viewers to blink less frequently and less completely.2
  3. Viewing distances may be physically imperfect to the viewer.

Each of these factors increases the visual demands to viewer’s eyes when working with computers over pen and paper.

What can you do about it?

The American Optometric Association suggests the following 20-20-20 rule:

take a 20-second break to view something 20 feet away every 20 minutes.”

This regular action can restore and relax the eyes, preventing ocular strain and fatigue.1,2 Remember, small steps today can make a big difference in the long haul.

Works Cited:

  1. https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/protecting-your-vision/computer-vision-syndrome
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4170366/