How to avoid computer-use eye strain

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In this age of technology, a lot of people spend the day in front of a computer screen.  This applies to me as well.  Whether I am writing a blog post, creating website content, or doing research, I end up spending a lot of time looking at the screen.

Over time, this can have a detrimental effect on your eyes.  Eye strain from long stretches of computer use is similar to extended periods of reading or driving.  Fortunately, symptoms of eye strain usually go away just by resting the eyes.  The problem is that when we are really into something and focused, we don’t think to give our eyes some rest until they are worn out.


Problem solved!

Not long ago, I came across a little program called EyeLeo (don’t ask me where they got the name).  You can get it free at

I simply downloaded and installed it, and opted to have it run each time I boot up the computer (you will see the little lion icon in the System Tray while it is running).

Now, instead of going 3 hours with barely blinking, I get a reminder right in the middle of the screen every 15 minutes that it’s time to take a short break.  The reminder tells me to do a quick eye exercise, such as closing my eyes tightly or looking left and right, and the short break only lasts about 10 seconds (you will even see a countdown timer on the screen so you know when to get back to work).  The short breaks can be scheduled for as quickly as every 3 minutes if you want, but I like to do it every 15 minutes.

Then, once an hour, I get a notification that a long break is coming up.  Long breaks last 5 minutes (you can set them to be as short as 2 minutes or as long as 7 minutes).  The longer breaks are when you need to look around, focus on something outside your window, or go take a quick walk or bathroom break.  For the long breaks, you get a “warning” ahead of time, which can be anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes before the break starts.

Here s what the settings screen looks like.  It’s pretty easy to figure out:



If you try out EyeLeo, let us know your experience in the comments below.


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John B
April 2nd, 2012

A program that I really like for making computer use easier on the eyes is f.lux (, or Redshift for us Linux users ( It’s mainly designed for when you’re on the computer at night, especially if you’re sitting in the dark. I first discovered it several years ago and have been sold on it ever since. It’s one of the first things I install on a new computer/distribution.

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