Make Study Time Easier with the 20/20/20 Rule

Studying for long hours every day can take a toll on you in more ways than one. Depending on how you are sitting you could experience back aches, neck aches or wrist aches from the keyboard, but one of the ways to get tired really fast while studying is to stare at your computer screen or text book without taking a break.

When you work on your computer you automatically blink less due to concentration; the same when reading. This can lead to dry, scratchy, itchy or watery eyes, fatigue, headache and even blurry vision. You could experience what is called CVS or Computer Vision Syndrome.

So how can you make your study time less stressful?  Follow what is referred to as the “20/20/20 Rule”. By following this simple rule you can help alleviate tiredness and eye strain. Every 20 minutes, stop and look 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a break, forces you to blink and readjusts your vision. If you are a contact lenses wearer this is even more important. If you have glasses, you may want to consider wearing those while studying versus wearing your contacts as contacts may dry your eyes out even more if you are focusing and not blinking.

Did you know  a person blinks on average of 12 times per minute? If you are staring at the computer it can be reduced to five times per minute. When you don’t blink your cornea dries and then when your eyes do blink they may burn and sting and create tears as it is trying to hydrate your cornea again. After a while, your vision starts to blur, you get tired and decide to turn off the computer or put away the books and study another day. Then the process starts all over again the next time you start to study. It’s a vicious cycle.

So how do you make yourself remember to stop every 20 minutes and look away? You could set an alarm on your phone or there are programs you can download that interrupt your computer work and remind you to stop and take a break. You can download programs such as Evo, WorkRave or EyeLeo, which automatically dims your screen at set intervals you customize to help you step away. There are apps for the iPhone® such as Breaktimer or Eyecare by XVision Medical that also help you to remember to stop and take an eye break.

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LeeAnn Andronico, MBA is a Career Services Advisor at Rasmussen College in Tampa/Brandon. She has worked in the field of higher education for over 2 years and has held various sales and management positions in the business side of medicine for over 15 years. Lee Ann has an MBA from Florida Institute of Technology in Management.

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