After long hours on the screen or working in front of a computer, you start experiencing symptoms of eye strain. Here are some of those symptoms:
- Sore, tired or burning eyes
- Blurred or double vision
- Watery, itchy or dry eyes
- Inability to focus your sight, etc
If you experience the symptoms above or you are currently experiencing it, I've news for you; good news and bad news.
Bad news first, right? I knew that's what you are going to say too. The bad news is "eye strain can happen to your eye even when you are watching a movie you enjoy, or reading a book you can't turn your face away from, or even more interesting when you play computer games or write stuff on your computer.
But the good news is, the 20-20-20 rule got you covered. Now, what's the 20-20-20 rule?
The 20-20-20 Rule
Some years ago, Dr Jeff Anshell, a specialist in vision ergonomics popularized the 20-20-20 rule as his recommendation for preventing and dealing with eye strains. But what exactly did he say about this 20-20-20 rule?
According to the 20-20-20 rule, for every 20 minutes you stare continuously at your light-emitting device, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
That's the summarized statement of the 20-20-20 rule, but let me break it down further.
I guess it looks clear already but even more practically, for every 20 minutes you have stared on your screen, TV or mobile phone, you should not only look away, but you should stand up to stretch your body a little bit, or just do something else that does not actively involve your eyes. That way you are relaxing both the eyes and your brain.
Is Eye Strain Dangerous To Eye Sight?
There is a great need to prevent eye strain because even though eye strain does not immediately cause permanent eye problems, the eye effects may consequently accumulate to cause more problems at a later period.
A common ophthalmologic effect of eye strain that is of medical importance is amblyopia, which also refers to "lazy eye". This is the inability of the eye focus or accommodate on objects due to over-use. Amblyopia could also be seen in old age when the eye muscles may have become weakened.
Beyond looking at any object 20 feet away after 20 minutes for 20 seconds, if you also take this 20 seconds to do something else, like a sip from your coffee mug, that would also help keep you at alert without drifting off to sleep or wild thoughts.
Other Ways Prolonged Computer Use Can Affect The Eye
If you are very keen on this topic, you'd see that I emphasized the time spent staring at your screen or your book, as the case may be.
According to a study carried out by scientists at Charotar University of Science and Technology, it was revealed that cell phone radiation can hurt our eyes.
The scientists who studied the impact of electromagnetic waves on the human eye say that usage of mobile can lead to early cataracts in the lens as well as affecting the retina, cornea and other ocular systems.
The problem, however, is not that the eye absorbs the radiation, but that the radiant heat absorbed by the eye does not get transmitted or radiated out of it so easily.
During the study, scientists computed the specific absorption rate and maximum temperature increase in the eye because of electromagnetic radiofrequency fields generated by the cell phone. The rise of the specific absorption rate and temperature depend on the distance between the eye and the cell phone. Big terminologies, right? But I'm sure you'd understand that.
It was also recently reported that the blue light emitted by these devices could accelerate blindness. Now we see another keyword here, "blue light". But I am not going to dwell on it now. What is important is that you need to keep your eye safe by adopting the 20-20-20 rule if you cannot avoid staring at the computer for long hours.
At this point, there is something I can say about myself concerning this 20-20-20 rule. I don't know about other guys who can be so focused without raising their brows a little, but even before I stumbled across this 20-20-20 rule, I have often noticed that I reflexly take my head off the moment I begin to feel my eyes getting tired. But if you are just more focused than me while working or reading, you may have to consciously adopt this 20-20-20 rule to prevent eye strain and other related eye conditions for not and later.
Why Is This Knowledge Important?
We are in this age when the use of computer and mobile phones have become a part of our everyday living. Even school children have had to use electronic devices in school at some point. Therefore, since we all cannot avoid using these devices, there is a great need to find ways to prevent the negative consequences of prolonged use of those devices, or eye strain.
How Can You Treat Eye Strain?
For early signs of eye strain, the 20-20-20 rule may suffice in relieving the symptoms. However, here are some more things you can do thereafter:
- Consult an eye doctor
- Use eye drops or artificial tear lubricants to moisten the eye
- Use your hand to massage the side of the bone around your eyes
- Use computer glasses with a special prescription, colour filter or lens coating and tint.