Reduce Computer-Caused Eye Strain With The 20-20-20 Rule

Reduce Computer-Caused Eye Strain With The 20-20-20 Rule

Repetitive stress injury (RSI) and eye strain are common ailments among computer users, and there’s no silver bullet for avoiding them beyond taking regular breaks to relax. Following his doctor’s advice, tech blogger Amit Agarwal suggests a simple 20-20-20 rule.

To help you deal with this problem, the 20-20-20 rule suggest that after every 20 minutes, you (the computer user) should take a break for at least 20 seconds and look at objects that are 20 feet away from you.

Agarwal points to a couple of different free utilities that can help you remember to take your regular breaks, both of which we’ve covered before: WorkRave (Windows and Linux) and EyeDefender (Windows). Mac users, you may want to check out Time Out.

You can also take steps to improve your physical workspace with eye strain in mind — for example, moving your monitor just below eye level reduces eye strain.

No matter how you remind yourselves to take regular computer breaks, eye strain and RSI are serious business, and not something you should ignore if you spend a significant amount of time in front of the computer. If you’ve got your own system for fighting off computer-related ailments, let’s hear them in the comments. Photo by bark.

Give your Eyes a Break with the 20-20-20 Rule [Digital Inspiration]


  • The other 20-20-20 rule I’ve read is to have your monitor at least 20″ big, 20″ away from your eyes, and some other 20 I forgot (or perhaps didn’t exist)

    • Askvictor, there is no “other” 20/20/20″ rule because sitting 20″ from the screen is a bit close for most display viewing. Big monitors are fine but bigger isn’t always better since they would also be HIGHER in your field of view, which means your eyes would be open wider (looking higher than straight ahead) and cause you to blink less (even drier eyes!).

      PS. I created the “rule” in the mid- 1990’s when people were not taking enough breaks from display viewing.

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