Reduce Eyestrain When Reading eBooks By Using the 20-20-20 Rule

AOA 20 Rule

Have you heard about the 20-20-20 rule?

It was created nearly 30 years ago by Jeffrey Anshel, an optometrist, as a way to help minimize eye strain when spending long periods of time in front of computer screens.

Since then it has increased in popularity and has been adopted as a rule when staring at other digital devices as well, including the likes of phones and tablets.

Basically the way the 20-20-20 rule works is you’re supposed to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds after every 20 minutes that you spend looking at a screen.

Taking regular breaks helps relax the eye muscles and can ease eye strain.

Many optometrists and even the American Optometric Association recommend the 20-20-20 rule.

There are apps designed to help you remember to take breaks every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

I’m surprised none of the ebook apps or reading devices have the option to use the 20-20-20 rule. It would be easy to add a setting for a 20 minute timer as a reminder to take regular breaks.

4 Responses to “Reduce Eyestrain When Reading eBooks By Using the 20-20-20 Rule”

  1. The Moon+ Reader app has a reminder setting. I believe it’s on by default because whenever I do a new installation that is one setting I always turn off. Maybe I should reconsider?!?

  2. Primatologist Desmond Morris makes the same claim. Our eyesight developed to scan for distance. Cramping it with prolonged short distance occupations spells eye strain.

  3. When I was able to use Moonreader on my older Fire, it had the feature (as Dan mentioned) and I enjoyed it. It would do it every hour, I believe, and was a nice reminder if I was completely absorbed in the book. Have no idea why devices don’t offer this automatically – perhaps they think it will cause too many customers to become overly concerned the device isn’t safe for eyes in general, reducing potential sales.