Panasonic Este gently steams your tech-fatigued eyes

After a long day staring at your computer monitor, squinting at your smartphone, and ogling video games, your eyes start to feel like they've been lightly sandpapered and left out in a desert wind. You could use eye drops or catch a few winks to recover, or your could invest in a Panasonic Este ES-SW50.

The Este is one of the weirder eye masks ever created. It's a bit chunky, but it does a lot more than just sit there. My Google Translate version of the product page indicates the Este generates a warm steam to soothe the eyes. Essentially, this is the high-tech version of laying a lukewarm washcloth across your peepers.… Read more

Five surefire ways to reduce computer eyestrain

If you spend hours a day in front of a computer screen (like me), and have experienced anything along the lines of: eyes burning, neck aching, vision blurring, or head throbbing, you might have a common problem known as eyestrain.

In medical terms it's called Computer Vision Syndrome, and it comes from a combination of your monitor's bright backlight, glare and staring at a screen for extended periods of time.

Quick fixes like ibuprofen and eye exercises will usually relieve eyestrain, but in my quest to resolve this issue, I went for a preventative approach.

After consulting trusty … Read more

LCD vs. e-ink: The eyestrain debate

As most people know by now, Barnes & Noble is releasing a new Nook Color e-reader in a few weeks, and that e-reader's color screen is an LCD. As soon as the company announced that its new e-reader had an LCD and not some sort of more exotic screen technology, some readers cried foul. In fact, the first comment out of the gate on our Barnes & Noble unveils Nook Color post was about eyestrain.

"It's very neat-looking, and the price point seems aggressive enough to make an impact for sure. That being said, is eyestrain an issue? I thought the benefit of e-ink was a combination of ease of reading, outdoor or well-lit reading, and battery life..."

A little farther down, another commenter wrote: "LCD technology for an eReader is going backwards for me. It's not that reading on an LCD is so horrible for me, but rather reading on an e-Ink display is so much more pleasing to my eyes."

Other readers came down more favorably on the side of LCD, saying they stare at a computer screen all day and it doesn't bother them. However you look at it, though, the Nook Color hasn't even hit stores yet and the debate over eyestrain is already raging. We got some of this when the iPad came out, but the discussion is more amped up because Barnes & Noble is calling the Nook Color the "reader's tablet," whereas the iPad hasn't been marketed first and foremost as an e-reader.

When we asked William Lynch, Barnes & Noble's CEO, about the potential for eyestrain with Nook Color screen, he said the company had done extensive research on displays and discovered that eyestrain with LCDs was not the huge issue many people were making it out to be. Furthermore, the company is also using a high-resolution next-generation panel from LG that's backlit with LED.

Now, it's not that I don't take Mr. Lynch at his word, but I thought I'd put in a call to an impartial third-party who might be able to shed some light on the issue. So I dialed up my ophthalmologist, Dr. Mark Hornfeld, who has a practice in Manhattan. I said, hey, Mark (yes, I call him by his first name), do any of your patients talk about reading with the iPad, Nook, and Kindle? Are people concerned about eyestrain when using these new e-readers? What's the deal?… Read more

Pace yourself

The ubiquity of computers in the workplace has created a legion of workers who spend long days typing and staring at screens, often to the detriment of their bodies and their productivity. Oh, we know we should take breaks to rest our eyes, wrists, and minds, but that's difficult to do when the work seems never-ending and deadlines are looming. WorkPace is an ingenious program that reminds--or forces--you to take periodic breaks, ensuring that both your mind and body have a chance to refresh themselves.

The program is extremely well-designed, and first-time users will find a thorough introductory video … Read more