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Eye Break for Online Learning

November 3, 2021

October 14 was World Sight Day. Coincidentally, I went in for an eye exam that day. You can probably guess my optometrist's first question. 

On average, how many hours do you spend looking at a screen?

As someone who has worked from home for about 20 years, you can probably guess what my answer was.

"Too long!"

With so many students and teachers participating in online or hybrid learning, screen time is really taking its toll on our eyes.

My eye doctor shared a useful tip for anyone who works or studies in front of a screen for several hours a day. She called it the 20-20-20 rule. 

What is the 20-20-20 rule? 

Unlike so many other health tips and tricks, this one is so simple. 

Every 20 minutes, look about 20 feet away from your screen for 20 seconds. 

That's it! Sometimes the smallest changes make the biggest difference. If you spend a lot of time staring at screens, I hope you'll give this trick a try. 

Eye Break Activity

After your 20-second break, come back together and describe what you saw. You can do this orally or in writing. Try looking a different way each time you take a break.

I looked out the window. I saw a lonely basketball hoop standing firm while the trees around it were blowing in the wind. 

You could also tell each other what you did NOT see. Or you could describe what colors, shapes, or movements you noticed. Alternatively, since you are giving your eyes a break, you could also focus on the sounds you heard in that 20-second break. 


  • coincidentally: by chance, not planned
  • optometrist: eye doctor
  • hybrid: a mix of two elements
  • take its toll: to cause damage or suffering over time

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What is one small change you have made recently to improve your health? 


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Comments (7)

Veronica V.(Teacher)

Great reminder, Tara. I used to work in the optometry field with children - I knew that rule - so easy to ask others to do it and not remember to do it yourself! Also good to look at 2 - 10 - 20 feet alternating between the three to practice using the other eye muscles as well. Take care!

Reply to Comment

Tara Benwell(Author)

Great tip about alternating the distance. I'm getting a little tired of looking at that same basketball hoop out my window!

Darryl P.(Teacher)

A great lesson,for all of us.
Guess where I am? Looking at the screen.
Eyes! Another part of ones anatomy taken for granted.

Reply to Comment

Tara Benwell(Author)

Thanks, Darryl! I agree that we "take our eyes for granted." That's a great expression to teach and learn.

"To take for granted" means to not think about or to not appreciate enough.

Paulina M.(Student)

It is incredible how we forget to change our health habits according to the changes around us. It is a real example of it.
Usually, we identified this when we visited the doctor because we felt pain or some discomfort.
The next step now put it into practice to improve our day by day and take care of our eyes. Thank you!
Paulina M.

Reply to Comment

Ann Dickson(Author)

I just read something interesting about eye health. Researchers have found that people who drink hot tea lower their risk of glaucoma. I'll have a cuppa!

Reply to Comment

Tara Benwell(Author)

Wow! Great news. Thanks for sharing. We drink herbal tea every evening! (I hope that counts.) I like peppermint the best.

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