We live in a digital world and our lives are controlled by a number of gizmos. And most of us are guilty of an unhealthy obsession of binge-watching episode after episode with no time to even blink. Not that we are complaining – we love a good series as much as the next person – but in the long run, our eyes sure will. And if you aren’t hooked on watching endless videos on your device, chances are you may be glued to a computer screen working all day long.
The fact that almost 60 percent of India uses digital devices like television, smart-phones, iPad for more than two hours is concerning. Some people even use two devices at once. This, in the long run could cause dry or teary eyes, headaches, and blurred vision, eventually damaging vision.
As fun and convenient our lives have been made due to the advent of digital technology, it is definitely not worth losing your eyesight over. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of five free apps that will help you take control of your
digital well-being and reduce eye strain.
Is your bedtime routine the same as half the world around us? Hop into your comfiest PJs, shut the lights off, crawl onto your bed… and pick up your mobile phone and browse endlessly till one of you sleeps off? Well, firstly, that is bad. Secondly, the blue light emitting from your phone is causing more damage than you think, not just to your eyes, but also your body. Your computer screen and mobile phones are designed to look like the sun; as the clock strikes 9 PM, 12 AM, 3 AM – your eyes which are accustomed to looking at the sun, feel disoriented. F.lux fixes this!
The primary motive to reduce eye strain is to eliminate blue light from your digital screen. Unless you buy a pair of glasses that help you with it, you are going to need an app like F.lux to do that for you. And the best thing about an app like this is that you don’t have to do much; just set it to recommended settings, feed in your pin code and it will do its magic. F.lux modifies the color and display of your device according to the time of day and even location. For instance, after the sun sets, it makes your computer screen adapt to indoor lights, while in the morning, it makes your screen adapt to sunlight again. F.lux also has a few options to tweak as per your lifestyle like: Reduce eyestrain, Classic f.lux, Working late, Far from the equator,Cave painting, and Color fidelity.
Yet another attractive feature this app has is that it automatically detects blue light when using other apps like Netflix, YouTube, etc.
*This app is available to download on Windows PC, Apple Mac, Linux, or iPhone.
Additionally, there’s a preview/root-only version available for Android.
We use way too many apps on our phones than we can count, so you may ask why add another one to it if you’re trying to reduce your eye strain? If you have been trying to reduce your screen time and failing at it, Awareness helps keep track of how long you’re actively using your computer, or phone. While it may work for your benefit, unlike other apps that help do this, Awareness does not lock you out of an app after the time limit or make a jarring sound that can scare others around you. So, what does it do exactly? Awareness sits quietly on your menu bar keeping a note of how much time you have spent on your device. As the name suggests, it just makes you ‘aware’. You have an option to keep the sound on if it helps, which is the sound of a Tibetan singing bowl to mark every hour of continuous computer use.
*This app is available to download on Windows PC, Apple Mac
3 Time Out
Maybe the aforementioned apps didn’t help you or maybe you need something that forces you out of the app you’re using to take a break and give your eyes a rest. Here’s where Time Out comes to your rescue, by smoothly disrupting your digital sessions. If you are put off by this, don’t fret, you can disable it when you need to focus on your work.
How does Time Out work? Once you activate it, Time Out lets you work in blocks of 50 minutes. Once you reach the 50-minute mark, your screen is blocked for ten minutes. You see a mini timer on the screen. This ten-minute break allows you to give your eyes a rest and look away. If you’d like, there is also another feature to take micro breaks where your screen is locked every ten minutes for ten seconds. Additionally, it also shoots out reminders to correct your posture and drink water.
*This app is available to download only on Mac. For Windows users, check ProtectMyVision, an app that does the same but with your browser (Chrome, Firefox, etc).
4 ColorBlind Helper
Color blindness is more common than you may think (around 300 million people in the world)! And if you’re one of them, here’s an app that might help you. It is designed to improve the visual accuracy of people with Color Blindness. What does it do? To put it simply, it identifies colors for people with color deficiencies. You take a photo of an object or scene, then touch a point in the picture you would like to know the color of, and the app will display the color name, RGB composition or hexadecimal code of the point you touched. It is perfect, if you’re someone working in the field of design, too.The database has about 1,500 color names
*This app is available to download on Android smart-phones
The best of the lot, Be My Eyes is a free app that connects blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers and company representatives for visual assistance through a live video call. If you’re someone who finds it difficult to do everyday tasks like reading labels, receipts and those really-hard-to-see product expiration dates, just video call a sighted volunteer to help you with it. As of today, there are approximately 4,358,472 sighted volunteers to help around 269,122 blind and low vision people on the app.
*This app is available to download on Android and iOS smart-phones