Preventing computer eye strain

Sight Saver

Article from Issue 251/2021
Author(s):

If you work or study from a home office, you probably sit at your computer for hours without a break. Safe Eyes reminds you to take regular breaks and take care of your eyes.

At first glance, working from home seems very convenient. You save time on your commute, money on transportation costs, and avoid overcrowded buses or trains. However, occupational safety often falls by the wayside at home. Most likely, you don't have an ergonomic workstation, and you don't turn away from your screen for a short conversation with a coworker or leave your desk for a meeting on another floor or adjoining building. Instead, your gaze remains fixed on the screen for hours.

At home, the responsibility for taking breaks and evenly spacing out your work falls entirely into your hands. You can use a Pomodoro timer [1] to regularly remind you to take breaks. However, if you continue to stare at the screen during your break – maybe surfing the web or watching a movie – you aren't giving your eyes time to recover.

If you find it difficult to move away from your screen, you may want to add Safe Eyes to your break time routine. An open source application developed for the Gnome desktop, Safe Eyes blacks out and locks your screen for a few seconds for each break (Figure 1), forcing you to actually stop working. Based on recommendations from medical experts, Safe Eyes implements several shorter breaks rather than a few longer ones.

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