That chances are that you’re spending at least a few hours every day behind your computer screen. Our generation, unlike any other in history, has the unique challenge of staring at computer screens all day at work (and spending hours staring at tablets and smartphones) and then going home and trying to relax and, eventually, sleep. In fact, about 60% of us spend at least five hours staring at a screen of some kind every day! For people who create behind a computer screen, this task is exacerbated; because such work takes a massive amount of time, we end up staring at our computer’s display for most of the day.
If you’re noticing that you are experiencing eyestrain more often lately, you may need to consider making a change to the way you work. We know that changing the way you work is definitely easier said than done, but there are a few great apps that can help. Here is our list of 4 great apps for reducing eyestrain.
If you’re working at your computer through the night (and let’s face it: who isn’t?), f.lux might be just the app for you. As you work through the night, this app automatically changes the color of your screen to a warmer color. Instead of staring at a screen that’s meant to reproduce the sun’s light, f.lux helps you work with the day’s natural rhythm, replicating the lighting your room or office, which helps to prevent eyestrain and tension headaches.
Dimmer Than Dim fulfills a really simple role when it comes to working on your computer at night: it dims the screen darker than OS X’s dimmest setting. This app is great if you’re working in a dark room, but it’s also really useful for those of us who hate looking at a stark white screen while working. You can control the amount of dimming on your screen through a slider bar, sliding to the left makes your display darker while sliding to the right makes it lighter.
Time Out is a great app for those of us who have a really hard time taking breaks. We know that we should, but we just push through it and end up burned out. After you set your break preferences, Time Out will time how long you work. Once you reach your break, your screen will dim and the app will actively take you out of your project. While this app can seem a little intrusive, it’s great for people who, stubbornly, work through their scheduled breaks.
Awareness may be the simplest app on our list, but it is also one of the most useful. At its best, Awareness is simply a timer. Once you set how often you want to take a break and the duration of each break, Awareness will disappear into your Menu Bar and/or Dock until the timer runs out; at that point, you’ll hear the sound of a Tibetan singing bowl. Taking a break is hard for workaholics, but using an app like Awareness will gently remind you to take your eyes off the screen for a few minutes and move around, greatly reducing your chances of straining your eyes (and producing bad work).
A lot of us take our eyes for granted, but it’s vital to take care of them, especially since we’re spending more and more time each year behind a screen of some kind or another. Through relatively small adjustments to your working routine, you can make sure that your eyes are working just as hard as you are. Try one (or a few) of the apps listed above and see which one works for you. Taking frequent breaks and limiting the amount of blue light we’re exposing ourselves to can make working for long hours much easier.