Published on November 29, 2017

Avoiding eye strain by remembering the 20-20-20 rule

Whether you're posting on social media or searching the computer for cyber deals this holiday season, remember to give your eye muscles a break.  Eye strain is a common problem, according to Essentia Health Optometrist Erin Barrett.  "I often recommend my patients follow the '20-20-20 rule', which is to take a 20 second break looking 20 feet away after focusing on the computer or after 20 minutes focusing up close," she says. 

The focusing muscle inside the eye is just like any other muscle of the body, so it can get tired with extended use.  "If this is the case things far away may be blurry when first looking up and away from the computer," says Barrett.  "The muscles need to stretch and relax after working so hard."

New studies are showing that computer screens, as well as phones and other electronic devices, emit harmful wavelengths of blue light that may be damaging the retina inside the eyes.  Essentia Health's optical shops offer blue blocking lenses and or coatings that can reduce your expose to these harmful wavelengths of light.

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