Unless we’re having a really bad spelling day, there’s no ‘i’ in beauty. But there’s certainly a lot of beauty in the eye. Studies show that our eyes are the first thing someone looks at when measuring how attractive we are, whether they can trust us, or want us as a mate.

Putting aside for one moment any thoughts about just how shallow that makes us, what this small truth says is this: if we care about how we look and how others see us, as well as our general eye health, then we need to take care of our eyes, inside and out.

In all, there are 3 key areas we should attend to if we want to keep our eyes healthy and looking good. In Part 1 of this article, we look at how we can exercise our eyes, so that they’ve got a chance to function like they should.

The 20/20/20 Rule for Eye Health

As impossible as it might seem, for hundreds of thousands of years we got by without staring for hours on end at a mobile phone or a television. During this time, our eyes developed to work in a certain way, never focused for too long on one thing, always moving between the close up and the far away.

Now though, things are different. Because, technology. Mobile phones, laptops, televisions, gaming consoles. We spend our lives staring at screens for work and pleasure. And the problem with that? Eye strain, that’s what, as well as its consequences, which include dry eyes, headaches, deteriorating vision, and neck, back and shoulder pain.

Like the rest of our body, our eyes need exercise. And they’re simply not getting it; not if we spend most of our day locked into our mobile phone or our laptop. Time then, to start exercising.

The best place to start is with the 20/20/20 rule, which involves giving our eyes a break every 20 minutes. We need to drag them away from our screens (honestly, it’s possible!) and focus on another object roughly 20 feet away, for 20 seconds, before going back to whatever close-up activity we were doing. This will not only give our eyes the exercise they need, but also help them relax and lessen strain.

Every hour or so, we should also get up from our desk or sofa and go stand by a window filled with natural light, or even head outside for 5 minutes. This helps give our eyes a real break, especially if, as we soak in the world around us (something that’s good for our soul, as well as our vision), we make a conscious effort to exercise our eyes by focusing on objects that are near to us, then far away.

We should all remember though, if we’re out in the sunlight for an extended time, to wear sunglasses with polarized lenses. Sunlight can be good for us in small doses (Vitamin D, baby!) but prolonged exposure to UV rays can harm our eyesight and has been linked to conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration.