20-20-20 Rule: What Is It?

What is 20-20-20 rule

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Digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome, is a common problem caused by prolonged use of digital screens. Symptoms include dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches, and neck or shoulder pain. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution that can help alleviate these symptoms: the 20-20-20 rule.

So, what exactly is the 20-20-20 rule? It’s a straightforward guideline designed to give your eyes a much-needed break from screen time. Here’s how it works:

What is the 20-20-20 Rule?

The 20-20-20 rule is easy to remember and implement. Essentially, it involves taking a break from staring at screens every 20 minutes by looking at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Hence, the name “20-20-20.”

Why 20 seconds?

The recommendation for a 20-second break is based on the idea that it takes a few seconds for the eyes to fully relax and adjust to a different focal length.

Why 20 feet?

The recommendation to focus on something at least 20 feet away is based on the concept of the “far point” of vision. The far point is the maximum distance at which the eye can focus comfortably without strain. For most people, objects located around 20 feet away provide a comfortable focal point where the eye muscles can relax. This distance helps to reduce strain on the ciliary muscles, which are responsible for adjusting the lens of the eye to focus on objects at different distances.

Why every 20 minutes?

The recommendation to take a break every 20 minutes is based on the understanding of how prolonged periods of screen time can affect the eyes and lead to discomfort and fatigue. Staring at a screen for an extended period without breaks can cause a phenomenon known as computer vision syndrome (CVS) or digital eye strain.

Why is it Important?

Our eyes are not designed to stare at screens for extended periods without a break. When we focus on a digital screen, we tend to blink less frequently, which can lead to dry and irritated eyes. Additionally, the constant strain on our eye muscles can cause fatigue and discomfort.

By following the 20-20-20 rule, you give your eyes a chance to rest and refocus, reducing the likelihood of experiencing symptoms associated with digital eye strain. This simple habit can make a significant difference in your overall eye health and comfort, especially if you spend a significant amount of time in front of screens each day.

How to Incorporate the 20-20-20 Rule into Your Routine

Incorporating the 20-20-20 rule into your daily routine is easy and requires minimal effort. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  1. Set Reminders: Use alarms or notifications on your devices to remind you to take breaks every 20 minutes.
  2. Practice Mindfulness: Be mindful of your screen time and make a conscious effort to take breaks regularly.
  3. Follow the Rule Consistently: Make the 20-20-20 rule a habit by incorporating it into your daily routine, whether you’re working, studying, or enjoying leisure activities.
  4. Encourage Others: Share the 20-20-20 rule with friends, family, and colleagues to promote better eye health for everyone.

What is Eye Strain and What are the Symptoms?

Eye strain, also known as asthenopia, refers to discomfort or fatigue experienced in and around the eyes due to prolonged use, particularly during activities that require intense focus, such as reading, working on a computer, or staring at screens. Symptoms may include:

  • Headaches
  • Dry or watery eyes
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability or discomfort in the eyes

Understanding the signs of eye strain can help you identify when it’s time to take a break and incorporate vision training exercises into your routine to alleviate discomfort and promote eye health.


In conclusion, the 20-20-20 rule is a simple yet effective strategy for reducing digital eye strain and promoting overall eye health. By taking regular breaks from screen time and giving your eyes a chance to rest and refocus, you can minimize discomfort and prevent long-term damage to your vision. So, the next time you find yourself immersed in digital devices, remember to give your eyes a break and embrace the 20-20-20 rule. Your eyes will thank you for it!

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the 20-20-20 rule help reduce digital eye strain?

The 20-20-20 rule reduces digital eye strain by giving your eyes regular breaks from screen time. It allows your eye muscles to relax and refocus, minimizing symptoms like dryness and headaches.

Can the 20-20-20 rule prevent long-term damage to my vision?

While it helps alleviate symptoms, it may not entirely prevent long-term damage. It’s essential to complement it with other measures like proper ergonomics, screen adjustments, and routine eye exams.

Is the 20-20-20 rule suitable for everyone, including children and individuals with pre-existing eye conditions?

Yes, it’s generally suitable for all ages. However, those with specific eye conditions should consult an eye care professional for personalized advice.

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