Tuesday, 16 Jul 2024
Technology

How to Prevent Eye Strain from Working With Gadgets at Night

When it comes to modern-day jobs, the traditional “9 to 5” work schedule is becoming obsolete. Thanks to technology and the internet, people can now work with anyone, from anywhere, at any time. Remote meetings and working at unusual hours have become the norm, especially in teams consisting of people from all over the world. However, these technology-driven working trends have their downsides. One of them is the uncomfortable feeling we experience when staring at computer or gadget screens at night. Luckily, there are solutions to this problem.

The Science Behind the Technology

To address this problem, we need to understand its root cause. Many people forget that biologically, the human body is wired to function optimally during daylight. Millennia of evolution have perfected our cells to work under such conditions, and these changes cannot be reversed within a few decades of modern work trends. Despite attempts to adapt, our bodies will tell us otherwise.

Working in front of a bright screen at night has two negative effects. Firstly, it causes eye strain. The screens of our gadgets are designed to mimic the sun’s light spectrum, making them comfortable to use during the day. However, this arrangement becomes a problem when using them in dim environments at night. Constant exposure to bright light at night can reduce the normal functioning of our eyes over time.

To avoid eye strain, you can reduce the screen brightness, soften the display light, and increase the room’s brightness. This helps in reducing the contrast ratio between the environment and the screen.

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Moreover, exposure to light from self-luminous displays increases the risk of sleep disorders by altering the body’s circadian rhythm. In simpler words, using your gadgets at night reduces your ability to sleep well and disrupts your body’s natural clock. For those interested in the science behind this, there are several studies available on the topic.

Tips and Tricks to Lessen Eye Strain

There are several ways to minimize the negative effects of working with gadgets at night.

1. Reduce the Screen Brightness

The most straightforward solution is to lower your gadget’s screen brightness to a level that doesn’t strain your eyes. Almost every modern-day device with a screen comes with a brightness adjustment feature. Some have dedicated buttons for this purpose, while others rely on software settings.

Eye Strain -bb- brightness

For Mac users, you can even reduce the brightness lower than the standard minimum level. By using the combination of Shift + Option + F1/F2, you can adjust the screen brightness in small and precise 1/4 incremental steps. This trick allows you to find the perfect brightness level for your comfort.

2. Utilize “Night Mode” Features

Several apps, both for desktop and mobile, offer a “night mode” feature. These apps are usually designed for tasks that don’t rely heavily on colorful graphics, such as text editors or spreadsheets. Night mode typically inverts the dominant colors, using a darker background and lighter foreground, like white text on a black background.

Eye Strain -bb- Night Mode

By enabling night mode, your eyes will be exposed to much less bright light, making it more comfortable to work at night. However, not all apps have this feature available.

Using Dedicated Apps

Given that the blue spectrum of light emitted from gadgets is the main culprit of eye strain, eliminating this light can alleviate the problem and make the screen look warmer and redder, which is easier on the eyes in low-light environments. Several dedicated apps can assist in reducing eye strain and maintaining your body’s natural sleep cycle.

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f.lux (Mac, Windows, Linux, jailbroken iOS, rooted Android)

f.lux is one of the pioneering apps in this field. Created by two former Google employees, Michael and Lorna Herf, f.lux initially aimed to reduce the “eerie blue” glow emitted by gadgets at night. The app reduces the blue light, leaving a red tint and providing a more natural appearance to the display.

Over time, f.lux evolved from a simple script to a fully-fledged app that synchronizes with the rising and setting of the sun based on the user’s geographical location. It gradually adjusts the screen colors to be easier on the eyes throughout the day.

Eye Strain -bb- Flux 2

After installation, f.lux allows you to choose a color scheme and set your wake-up time. The app can determine your location automatically or let you search for it manually. Once set up, f.lux works quietly in the background.

f.lux is free to use and available for Mac, Windows, Linux, jailbroken iOS devices, and rooted Android devices.

Red Shift (Linux and Windows beta)

Red Shift is an open-source alternative to f.lux inspired by dissatisfaction with the buggy clone of f.lux for Linux, called xflux. It offers similar functionality and continues to be developed despite the official availability of f.lux for Linux.

Note that Red Shift installation requires some knowledge of command lines. If you prefer customized functionality, you can modify the app’s settings. Red Shift is available for Linux and Windows beta versions.

Night Shift (iOS)

Starting from iOS 9.3, Apple introduced a f.lux-like feature called Night Shift to their operating system. It is available on devices such as the iPhone 5s or later, iPad Pro, iPad Air or later, iPad Mini 2 or later, and iPod touch (6th generation).

You can quickly enable Night Shift by sliding up the Control Center from the bottom of your iOS screen and tapping its icon in the middle. You can also schedule it to run automatically within a specific time period and adjust the color warmth in the settings.

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Eye Strain -bb- Night Shift quick 2

Note that Night Shift mode is not available when your iOS device is in Low Power Mode.

Night Shift is exclusively available for iOS, but similar functionality is possible on Android devices.

Twilight or Bluelight Filter (Android)

For non-rooted Android users, there are apps like Twilight or Bluelight Filter that provide f.lux-like features. These apps reduce blue light emission and synchronize with the sun’s cycle.

Twilight and Bluelight Filter are available for Android devices.

Eye Strain -bb- bluelight

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do these apps work on all devices?

A: No, different apps have different compatibility. Make sure to check the specific requirements and availability of each app for your device.

Q: Can I adjust the color warmth on these apps?

A: Yes, most of these apps allow you to customize the color warmth according to your preference.

Q: Are these apps free?

A: Many of these apps are free to use, while some may offer additional premium features for a fee. Check the respective app’s website or store page for more information.

Conclusion

Working with gadgets at night can lead to eye strain and disrupt your sleep patterns. It’s essential to implement strategies to minimize the negative effects. By reducing screen brightness, using night mode features, or utilizing dedicated apps like f.lux, Red Shift, Night Shift, Twilight, or Bluelight Filter, you can protect your eyes and maintain a healthy sleep schedule.

Remember to prioritize your well-being and give your eyes the care they deserve, even when working in a technology-driven world.

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