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I read this piece on the BBC about the concern over eye health with average screen time increasing during lockdown. People are being urged to learn and observe the "20-20-20" rule:

looking at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes you look at a screen

Not going out so much and certainly not having to commute to or move around the office I can certainly vouch for a much reduced visual range. Even when not looking at a screen one is generally still looking at things within the same four walls, especially during these dark winter months.

I am short sighted anyway (it runs in the family) but have increasingly felt my eyes becoming more tired and irritated over the past few months. I haven't felt the need to where my glasses very often so that's a good indicator of how little I have been looking at distance.

I already knew the guidance on looking up and away periodically but had not come across the 20-20-20 rule so was keen to find out more. It seems I wasn't the only one.

Whilst searching I found this article on the Optometry Times website in which the author, Brian Chou, endeavoured to find the rule's origin. Some digital sleuthing lead him to a Dr Jeffrey Anshel who coined the rule back in 1991 when the prevailing advice was to take a 15 minute break every two hours.

Anshel started with the 3B's: blink, breathe, and break, but the 20-20-20 rule emerged out of the 'break' part of that.

The 3B's sounds more holistic, like something we can apply to so many areas of our lives.

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Alan Ralph says:Reply to Alan Ralph

I've taken various steps to mitigate the effect of screen time — reducing overall brightness, Night Shift setting (and F.lux before that), and using zoom settings on my browser to make text bigger. But I'm also taking more regular breaks from the computer, and actually stepping away instead of turning to a different screen.

Colin Walker says:

Watching the birds in the garden whenever possible is always a good opportunity for a break and something I try to do as often as possible. It's been for mental health reasons and a sense of escapism but I shall endeavour to also do so for my distance focusing now that I've learnt this rule.

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# 0 comments: click to read or leave your ownReply by email

I've been spending some time trying to kick start the writing project again after a lull over Christmas and the new year. I've decided on chapter names and an initial order, more to convince myself this is still happening than anything, but both are subject to revision.

I'm eager to get to the real writing phase as I'm still in research/preparation mode but I'm hoping the more prep I do the easier the words will come when it's time to write them.

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Colin Walker Colin Walker colin@colinwalker.blog