Health Tips for programmers - rule 20/20/20

Protecting your health and eyes as a programmer(and not only) is extremely important considering the fact that we stay on your computers and phones for a long time. 15 years ago, when I started working as a programmer this question came to my mind:

As a programmer, what should I do to protect my health and eyes?

In a blog posts series I'll post different tips and ideas about wellbeing and preserving mental and physical health.

What is the rule 20/20/20 and how I found it?

Few months ago, I had a regular eye check up. No complaints or problems related to vision but a yearly check up. Usually I'm describing to my doctor my work day and what I do in order to protect my eyes. This time it was a new doctor, young and wearing glasses too, he shared this new rule - 20/20/20.

He explained to me that old recommendations like: taking regular breaks each hour for a water or walk is not enough. The latest researches recommend the rule - 20/20/20 - which can be described as:

Every 20 minutes, focus the eyes on an object 20 feet (6 meters) away for 20 seconds.

He himself practiced the rule and enjoy the results of it.

What else I learned for this rule?

As a curious person I wanted to learn more and test it for myself. And so I did a little research - I found several articles and studies related to it like:

In Wikipedia we can read the following:

Computer workers are often advised to take breaks and look at distant objects.[4] A routinely recommended approach is to consciously blink the eyes every now and then (this helps replenish the tear film) and to look out the window to a distant object or to the sky—doing so provides rest to the ciliary muscles. One of the catch phrases is the "20–20–20 rule":[5] every 20 minutes, focus the eyes on an object 20 feet (6 meters) away for 20 seconds. This basically gives a convenient distance and timeframe for a person to follow the advice from the optometrist and ophthalmologist.

Keep your eyes healthy with rule 20/20/20

Then I started to add this new habit to my daily routine. From the experience so far ( few weeks ) I can share that the rule is helping me by:

  • remove eye tiredness even for long hours in front of display
  • give me nice short break - I'm standing and watching through a window
  • sometimes I can find new way to attack a problem or change my view
  • make my meetings easier - give me a moment for relax

This new healthy habit will relax your eyes and avoid eye redness. Take this time also to distance yourself from the screen, computer and problems there. Find something beautiful out there and stare at it:

  • trees
  • the sky
  • birds
  • flowers

You can think of it like a natural stop after a hard work or cool down after an intense workout.

This rule works for me and makes my days easier. Healthy working isn't impossible or difficult. It just takes time to find the right daily routine. I'll continue to add new tips and ideas.

Expect new posts on weekly basis.
Stay healthy!

P.S. Please do share your experience in the comment section below. Thank you!

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