Our society’s focus on “near work”-from sewing and reading to peering at computers all day-may be responsible, says Susan Vitale, PhD, of the National Institutes of Health’s National Eye Institute. Recent research from the University of Sydney in Australia also suggests that nearsightedness can sometimes be prevented in teenagers if they spend more time outdoors, possibly because natural light may produce a sharper image on the retina.
That’s still a theory-there’s no proven way to avert myopia. But nearsighted or not, you can help ease eyestrain while doing near work by giving your eyes an occasional rest. How often? Experts recommend using the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look up from what you’re doing and focus 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds.
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