We are all tied to this or that gadget. You may be a tablet owner with unhealthy video jamming habits. A workaholic with a keyboard at hand 24-7. Or you may be one of those smartphone users with a lot of apps (and leaderboards to conquer).
But no matter how funny and convenient this way of life is, you should not lose your eyesight. With 80% of American adults using digital devices for more than two hours a day, this is a major concern. 67% even use two devices at the same time. In turn, studies show that 32% of people report eye strain, and another 27% report dry eyes, headaches, and blurred vision.
So what can you do to prevent this from happening? Here are some free apps you can use on your computer, tablet, and smartphone to reduce the digital strain on your eyes and hopefully improve your sleep.
The key to reducing eye fatigue is to eliminate blue light on a digital screen. Unless you purchase a physical screen or glasses, you need an app like f.lux .to touch up for you.
What’s great about f.lux .is that you don’t need to change the settings too much. Just set the recommended colors for it, enter your zip code and it will take care of the rest. It uses your location to determine the time of day and brightness to adjust the settings for you.
The app will make the screen darker and darker as the sun sets and bedtime approaches. But don’t worry, you can still see it – it’s a yellowish orange hue. You can choose the wake-up time so that the screen is colored correctly so that the blue light does not affect your brain.
When your eyes see blue light, your mind thinks it is day. Thus, using digital devices before bed can interrupt your circadian cycle and prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.
f.lux .also contains other settings that you can configure yourself. For example, you can darken the screen the day before. There are also presets that you can choose based on your goals.
For example, you can choose one of the following options to reduce eye strain:
- Reduce eye strain.
- Classic f.lux
- Work late.
- Far from the equator.
- Rock painting.
- Color rendering.
Play around with the settings to see what works best for you.
Another benefit is that it automatically detects when you are using applications that require blue light, such as YouTube.
You can download this app to your PC, Mac, Linux or iPhone. There is a root-only preview / version for Android which gets a lot of buzz from crashes. Also, it hasn’t been updated since 2016, so we don’t recommend downloading this version.
If you are an Android user, you can download Twilight to your device. It is receiving impressive reviews and is similar to f.lux Its design also helps maintain an efficient circadian cycle and sleep quality.
It uses your location to know the sunrise and sunset times to determine when to tint the screen. Alternatively, you can turn it off when using apps like Netflix or YouTube that require good lighting to watch.
It comes with settings that you can control like color temperature, screen intensity, and brightness. Then you can decide when you want to enable the filter – days, times and custom options are available. In addition, you can create schedule profiles that automatically turn on at the times you specify, for example, read before bed, stay late at work, etc.
It is also possible to pause or stop it.
Sometimes knowing how much screen time you put into your devices can help you change your habits and reduce eye strain. Aware is an application that tracks how long you have been actively using your computer.
Unlike similar apps, it is not intrusive and does not block you after a certain time (or time limit). And he doesn’t have an annoying alarm that can scare or interrupt others.
So how does this help you? It just keeps track of the time you spend on your device. You can check for yourself if you have gone beyond the established limit. He sits quietly on the menu bar.
Maybe it will encourage you to go out and spend about 30 minutes in the real world. If it sounds good, you can download it to your Mac computer.
Maybe you are not so disciplined and need something to “get” you to rest. Then Time Out is the app for you. It’s only available for Mac users and does a great job of disrupting your digital sessions.
Some people may not like this, so make sure it is not turned on if you know you need to focus on one block for several hours.
So how does it work? When you activate it, it allows you to work in blocks of 50 minutes. Then, when you reach the 50 minute mark, your screen will lock for 10 minutes. A screen with the app logo and countdown timer appears. Taking these short breaks will help ensure proper rest for your eyes.
It is also possible to take micro breaks when the screen is locked for 10 seconds every 10 minutes. But for some it may be a bit too much.
He will then remind you to correct your posture and relax your muscles.
Of course, you can turn off the app at any time (even if your screen is locked while waiting). There are also customization features that you can use to choose which apps turn off the timeout so you can watch them without interruption.
Now, if you are using a Windows computer and need something to use timeouts regularly, ProtectYourVision is the best choice. But instead of being tied to your PC, it’s in your internet browser. It works with Chrome, Safari and Firefox.
It comes with a 20-20-20 default plan that you can customize to your liking. When it’s time for you to take a break, it beeps and then turns off the screen temporarily.
A breakdown can be helpful, but annoying at times. Thus, you can opt out of the break at any time. This way, you can decide when the screen goes blank.
The app also includes eye exercises that you can do during your break. If you use a lot of Google apps, you can learn how to turn on dark mode.
Protect your eyes while working, watching and playing!
No one is ready to ditch a cold turkey with their digital devices. Therefore, it is best to find ways to reduce eye strain.
With these apps, you can give your eyes the respite they need while you work, watch videos and play games.