Optometrists are constantly begging their clients to take more frequent breaks from the television and computer. It’s not a choice we actively ignore though — sometimes, we just forget we’re using it! Here are three tools that will prompt you to take a break, and could potentially save your eyes from some more serious damage.
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The most simple of these utilities is called eyeBreak. It is a basic bare bones utility that prompts a reminder every designated time interval. For example, if you set eyeBreak to go off in one minute, reminders will pop up every minute.
eyeBreak overlays a reminder on your desktop, rendering everything un-clickable and forcing you to take a break.
If you really want to finish up a task and circumvent eyeBreak’s reminder, you can simply press spacebar or end the task from the Task Manager.
If what you want is a quick and easy solution right out of the package, eyeBreak will do the job well. It’s not the only superstar on the court though.
I actually prefer FadeTop over eyeBreak, as it’s very similar with a minor tweak — instead of having a reminder that renders everything un-clickable, basically what you’ve got is a translucent overlay that colors your screen differently.
The color of the overlay, along with intervals and durations of the FadeTop fade, can all be adjusted very easily. The Auto fade interval is where you adjust how often FadeTop fades.
If you’re looking for a simple, and partially customizable solution, check out FadeTop.
3. Eyes Relax
Eyes Relax is a similar reminder-based software, which sends out reminders to take a break every designated interval. That said, it’s got a lot of features that eyeBreak and FadeTop don’t have. Naturally, it can set intervals for break lengths and reminders.
Additionally, it also has protection so that kids (who might not be as concerned with their eyes as their current game of StarCraft) aren’t able to circumvent the break without a password. You can also turn off Task Manager so that the sharper needles won’t be able to get around it using that method either.
There are also different profiles for different users. In the case your grandmother is using it, you can set your profile to a bunch of more lenient settings than you would with your eight-year-old son.
I love how Eyes Relax sends out a pop-up through Windows when I’m nearing my break. I find that this is great for me to wrap up my work — send that final email, or finish off a certain paragraph, before I take a break.
Lastly, it’s great how Eyes Relax allows for movement on the computer during the break. Certain users, like myself, have priorities that just can’t be avoided at times, and if taking an extra minute or two to do a better job on a project is a sacrifice I have to make and software tries preventing it, all I end up doing is figuring out a way around the software.
If you like a lot of features and have several minutes to configure it, I think that Eyes Relax is a great solution for reminding you to take a break.
Save your Vision!
I’m sure that a lot of us could use a welcome reminder that tells us when to take a break from the computer. Try out any of these three applications, and let us know what you think! If you’ve got any other suggestions, give us a shout.