Protecting Against Eye Strain: Taking Screen Breaks Using the 20-20-20 Rule

Fight for Sight, an eye health charity, is urging people to take regular breaks from their screens using the 20-20-20 rule.  Tighter restrictions and the need to stay home has seen many of us increasing our ‘screen time’ during the pandemic.

This rule encourages regular breaks, requiring users to look away from their close-up screens to something at least 20 feet away, for 20 seconds every 20 minutes you are looking at a screen.  This exercise endeavours to give the eyes a break from close up work and help prevent eye strain.

In a recent survey carried out by Fight for Sight, of the 2,000 respondents, around half advised using screens more during the pandemic, with a third (38%) believing that their eyesight had worsened during this time.  A mix of problems were reported by the group from difficulty reading to headaches and in some cases migraines and poorer night vision. Last summer the UK Ophthalmology Alliance and the Royal Collage of Ophthalmologists estimated that at least 10,000 people had missed out on essential eye care.

With opticians remaining open during the pandemic, around one in five respondents to the survey advised that they were less likely to undergo an eye test due to the fears of either catching or spreading the virus.

Sherine Krause, chief executive of Fight for Sight advised; ‘More than half of all cases of sight loss are avoidable through early detection and prevention methods.  Regular eye tests can often detect symptomless sight-threatening conditions.’

The College of Optometrists have advised that their members will continue to provide eye care under lockdown restrictions.  Paramdeep Bilkhu, clinical adviser for the College of Optometrists told the BBC in a recent interview that in respect to longer screen time and links to deterioration in eye sight that;

‘The good news is that it is unlikely to cause any permanent harm to your vision.  However, it is very important that if you feel your vision has deteriorated or if you are experiencing any problems with your eyes, such as them becoming red or painful, you contact your local optometrist by telephone or online.’

If you are looking for an eye health professional in your area, click here to see a full listing of services and professional who can help.


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Carrie Plummer - Editor & Content Manager



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