How often do you find yourself telling your child to stop staring at screens and get some fresh air? While screen-led activities can be a fun pastime and a way for children to learn, screen time when improperly monitored can cause strain on the eyes which could lead to further eye problems. Thankfully, the 20-20-20 rule is a simple way to help maintain the health of our children’s eyes while limiting the amount of time they spend on screens. New to the 20-20-20 rule? Here’s everything you need to know about the rule and how it can help your child’s eyesight between your annual children’s eye exam is due!
What Is The 20-20-20 Rule?
The 20-20-20 rule is the perfect way to keep your kid’s eyes safe while they play or work with screened items. The rule suggests taking breaks of at least 20 seconds, every 20 minutes to look at something at least 20 feet away – this is supposed to prevent eye strain and headaches when you or your children spend time looking at screens. If done properly, the 20-20-20 rule could save you a trip to the opticians for a children’s eye exam! Here’s how it works:
Taking just 20 seconds of rest from staring at a screen can help refresh your eyes. When you’re constantly concentrating and looking at a screen, you’ll typically blink a lot less than usual. This lack of blinking can dry out the eyes, which isn’t great for your children’s eyesight. Taking these 20-second breaks to look at something other than a screen will give your children time to blink and refocus, which will moisten and refresh your eyes.
To keep your children’s eyes constantly refreshed and healthy, you should make sure to keep those 20 second breaks up at least every 20 minutes. This means that after every 20 minutes of screen time, you should implement 20 seconds of away time between your child and any screens they have been looking at – this includes TVs, computers, tablets, and phones!
It’s been proven that taking frequent breaks from your screen to look at faraway objects significantly lessens eye strain symptoms, which is why it’s implemented in the 20-20-20 rule! To keep your kid’s eyes in tip-top condition in between those children’s eye exams, consider getting your child to look out of a window at an object that’s far away – like a tree or a building. And it’s not just your children’s eyes you should be keeping safe.
When you’re cooped up on a computer or tablet, you often lose your good posture, which means back, neck, and shoulder pain. This is no different for children, unfortunately! To help both your child’s eyesight and their posture, use the 20 feet rule to get them up and moving.
Children are notorious for not noticing when their eyes are straining, so it’s even more important that you take steps to monitor your child’s screen time. For more advice on how to keep your children’s eyesight healthy, ask your eye care professional at your next children’s eye exam.