Welcome to Eye Reliever, the app for the eyes!
Do you stare at a screen all day, either for work or just on your own time? Do you get dry eyes, eye strain, headaches, or blurry vision? Any or all of these symptoms after long periods of screen time are called Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). Even if you don't have any symptoms of CVS now, as we all stare at screens more in this Digital Age we are increasingly at risk to have these problems.
But here's the good news: healthy screen habits can reduce your risk for CVS. To that end, the 20-20-20 Rule is a great rule-of-thumb to help your eyes. This rule says that, when using a computer, phone, or tablet, "Every 20 minutes look 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. And blink often." Sounds easy, right?
Unfortunately, the truth is that it's difficult to remember to take these regular breaks. We invariably become engrossed in what we are doing, whether it's checking e-mail, texting, writing reports, or playing a game. That's where the Eye Reliever app provides an easy solution. This app has a custom-made looping clock that will track the time for you! Just hit the Start button and listen for the alerts. The app will tell you when to take a break with a brief alert sound, and then 20 seconds later another alert lets you know when the break is over. It's that simple!
So how does the app work? By following the 20-20-20 Rule, the goal is to prevent dry eyes and eye strain. Let's discuss these separately:
1) Dry Eyes - We typically blink our eyes about 15 times per minute, but studies have shown that this rate drops by more than half when we stare at computer screens. We become unblinking zombies, and you probably can relate to that feeling of how your eyes feel after staring at a computer for a long time. Decreased blink rates and incomplete blinks reduce the quality of the tear film coating the front surface of the eye. As the tear film degrades it evaporates more quickly, which leads to the burning, gritty irritation that characterizes dry eyes. The Eye Reliever app reminds you to take regular breaks and blink your eyes fully and often so that your blink rate never gets into the "danger zone." Think of this like snapping out of the screen-zombie trance.
2) Eye Strain - Computer, phone, and tablet screens close to a user's face (usually 50-60 cm) are a near object that require increased effort for our eye's focusing system. Inside the eye is a muscle that encircles the lens; when we look at a near object, this muscle flexes to change the shape of the lens to make that object clear and "in focus." Like any muscle in the body, it gets tired after extended use. If you stare at a screen for hours on end it's like putting that muscle through a long workout! This is where the Eye Reliever app can help. By taking regular breaks to look away from the screen (at least 20 feet, or just close your eyes) you allow that muscle to relax back to its resting state. By using this app to take breaks through the day the goal is to prevent eye strain, fatigue, and headaches from happening as your workday progresses into the afternoon.
That's a quick introduction to how the Eye Reliever app can help you follow the 20-20-20 Rule. Finally, it's worth mentioning that this rule is recommended by both the American Optometric Association (AOA) and the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). Links for these sites are as follows: