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Eye strain or asthenopia is a real problem for those who sit at a computer. It is caused by decreased blinking while working long hours focusing on computer screens.

It is very easy to fall into bad habits when using a computer for hours on end. You care about what you are doing, so can sometimes push yourself too far, or over-strain yourself. The human body isn’t built to sit in one position for endless hours, gripping a mouse or typing on the keyboard. These apps/softwares are here to help. It will gently remind you to take a break on a regular basis.

8. Workrave – Windows, Linux

workrave

Homepage

Workrave is a program that assists in the recovery and prevention of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). The program frequently alerts you to take micro-pauses, rest breaks and restricts you to your daily limit. Please refer to the feature comparison for a complete list of features, and how the program performs with respect to other programs on the market. The program runs on GNU/Linux and Microsoft Windows.

7. Time Out – MAC OSX

time-out-app-mac

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Time Out has two kinds of breaks: a “Normal” break, typically for 10 minutes after 50 minutes of work, so you can move about and relax, plus a “Micro” break: a very brief pause of typically 10 seconds every 10 minutes, so you can remember not to tense up too much for long periods. You can disable either kind of break if desired, and the breaks are automatically paused when you go away from your computer, and can be reset when you come back.

You can configure how long each kind of break lasts, and how long between breaks. Each Time Out is announced via the screen slowly dimming, with related graphics materializing, and when the break is complete, it fades out again. You can change the time these transitions take… and you can even change the color and the level of transparency during the break. So if you like, you can make it mostly transparent so you can continue reading while on your break… though it’s better for you if you give your eyes a rest during the Time Out.

While in a break, a progress bar shows how long till it is over, and buttons are available to postpone or skip the break if you can’t be interrupted right then. Starting with version 1.5, you can change the number of minutes for the postpone buttons, or even hide them and/or the skip button, if you want to encourage yourself to take the breaks.

What’s more, you can optionally play a sound and even run an Automator workflow, AppleScript, Python script, or application at the start and/or end of each break. So you can have it pause iTunes and play a short soothing piece of music or repeating sound at the start of a break, then a buzzer and resume iTunes when the break is over. Some useful scripts are provided built-in, plus updates and user-submitted ones available on the Time Out Extras page.

6. Eye Leo – Windows

eyecoach

Homepage

EyeLeo reminds to take breaks regularly, shows you simple eye excercises and prevents you from using computer at break times. Following EyeLeo’s regulations will result in less physical fatigue.

Features:

  • Screen blocking long breaks every hour.
  • Short breaks with eye exercises every 10 minutes.
  • Eye exercises shown by an adorable Leopard.
  • Notifications announcing a long break coming.
  • Strict mode that does not allow skipping the breaks.
  • Customizable parameters.
  • Multi-monitor system support.

5. Eyes Relax – Windows

Homepage

It’s an utility that helps avoiding eyes-related problems when working at a computer for several hours. Concentrating your eyesight on a computer screen can cause an eye strain. You can prevent this by taking regular breaks during the work and look at distant objects.

Eyes Relax is a tool that reminds you about taking those breaks. It a very flexible utility, which allows you to specify two independent (short and long) work periods, the length of the breaks, break types, notification sounds and many other settings.eyesrelax

Eyes Relax has also the parenting features. It can enter the password-protected Parent Mode in which the user is forced to take breaks (during the break the computer is locked). This is very useful since children often forget about the real world and play video games much too long.

4. AntiRSI – MAC OSX

antirsi

Homepage – Download

AntiRSI is a program for Mac OS X that helps prevent RSI (repetitive strain injury) and other computer related stress. It does so by forcing you to take regular breaks, yet without getting in the way. It also detects natural breaks so it wont force too many breaks on you

3. EyeDefender – Windows

EyeDefender2

Homepage

EyeDefender is a freeware rest reminder designed to prevent Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) resulting from working on a computer for hours. CVS symptoms include eyestrain, blurred vision, delayed focusing, headaches, back and neck aches, dry and burning eyes, light sensitivity, distorted color vision, forehead heaviness, and sore eyes.

EyeDefender

CVS is impossible to get rid of but you can reduce and even eliminate most of its symptoms. The recommendation is simple – take a short rest break from your computer every hour. The difficulty lies in scheduling a regular break and keeping to it. Thats where EyeDefender can help you. Itll remind you to take a break and relax eyes at fixed intervals.

2. FadeTop – Windows

fadetop

Homepage

FadeTop is a visual break reminder for Windows. At regular intervals, it fades your desktop into a bluish color, and displays current time.

FadeTop Lets You…

* Get alarmed about current time in a natural, mild and agreeable manner
* Develop a habit of resting your eyes and body regularly

(Bonnus)

1. Rest – Windows/MacOS/ iOS – $4.99

rest-app

HomepageDownload for WindowsDownload for Mac OSX – Download for iOS

Clean, cross platform(Windows/Linux/MacOS) AntiRSI software firstly released on Jan. 2014. The author created it for a programmer friend with RSI issues who was constantly caught up in a busy work schedule and forgot to stand up and take breaks. The software is made as non-intrusive as possible, when it’s inactive it doesn’t show anything that might be a distraction. It takes the metaphor of whale’s surfacing to breath and dive to give you a nicer touch. It’s a simple piece of software, hope it can help someone.

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