If your job involves a lot of web browsing, you might feel your eyes become dry or experience headaches after concentrating on your tasks for extended periods. Fortunately, there are a few Google Chrome extensions you can use to protect your eyes. Some of these Chrome extensions use the Pomodoro technique, while others use the 20-20-20 rule to alleviate screen time side effects. Here’s how to use Chrome extensions to protect your eyes while web browsing.
Pomodoro and the 20-20-20 Rule
The Pomodoro technique works by dividing up your work time into blocks of 30 minutes—25 minutes for focused work and short 5-minute breaks in between. Meanwhile, the 20-20-20 rule might be new to you. According to the 20-20-20 rule, you should take a break from looking at your screen every 20 minutes. During that break, you should look for 20 seconds at an object that’s at least 20 feet away.
The following Chrome extensions use these strategies to help you protect yourself from eye strain.
EyeCare – Protect Your Vision is a Google Chrome extension that’s based on the 20-20-20 rule. It reminds you to take frequent breaks to prevent eye strain. You can easily adjust the eyeCare extension’s settings if you feel you don’t have time to get anything done in just 20 minutes or if you plan on focusing on a lengthy task. You can also click Reset, and the break timer will start all over again. To make sure you’re not forgetting the much-needed rest for your eyes, you can permit eyeCare to show notifications and play sounds.
If you’ve just started following the 20-20-20 rule, turn on the toggle next to Show exercises page, and the extension will provide instructions on how to spend your break effectively. And if you need a distraction-free environment, you can turn off eyeCare easily without even opening Chrome’s extensions menu.
When you’re not looking at a screen, you blink about 10 to 15 times per minute. But screen exposure reduces the blinking rate by up to 60 percent, increasing the risk of dry eyes, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Eye Rest Notification can help protect your eyes from the strain of staring at a computer screen by reminding you to take a break and blink.
The extension’s menu doesn’t come with a lot of options—it simply allows you to set the time until your next reminder. So if you’re looking for something quick and efficient, Eye Rest Notification is the right extension for you.
While this Chrome extension might not remind you to take a break from your screen, it will help protect your eyes by changing your browser’s colors and tones. The extension allows you to change the colors of websites based on Night or Reseda modes.
You can select the background color, adjust brightness and contrast, or disable the extension for specific websites. Doing so can reduce the intensity of bright colors and make browsing more comfortable. You can also use keyboard shortcuts to adjust the settings of Care Your Eyes quickly.
Break Timer is available as a desktop app, but if you prefer installing a Chrome extension, you’ll have no problem setting up your breaks right in the browser. If you have the habit of forgetting to take breaks to stretch and rest your eyes while working, Break Timer will make sure you’re getting some healthy no-screen time.
This extension comes with a high level of customization. You can choose your break frequency and length, break title and message, and if Break Timer should allow you to postpone your break. You can also set Break Timer to notify you with either a full-screen pop-up or a simple notification.
Finally, Break Timer’s countdown will automatically reset if you’re not using your computer for a while.
Green Eye is a simple and efficient Google Chrome extension that keeps your eyes healthy by changing the background and foreground colors of web pages. It comes with three preset themes, but you can personalize it even more by choosing the text, background, and border color. Also, you can enable keyboard shortcuts to switch the settings faster.
Installing Screen Shader is similar to using F.lux to reduce blue light. The extension will place a colored tint over your browser windows to help reduce eyestrain, and it will adjust the brightness according to the time of day.
The Screen Shader preferences menu allows you to control the shade, color, or brightness. You can use a keyboard shortcut to open the extension and control its settings. If you’re not sure how you should set up Screen Shader, let the extension detect your location and adjust the shade according to local sunset and sunrise times.
The Praxis Eye Health extension is designed to reduce the negative effects of too much screen time or sitting for too long. The extension’s interface is quite simple, and it focuses on three features to keep you healthy:
- A 20-minute countdown, so you can take a break and follow the 20-20-20 rule.
- A water intake tracker to remind you to stay hydrated while working.
- A gif or picture of a yoga pose, so you can include a bit of physical activity during your breaks. (While some poses might require laying down or standing on a leg, there’s nothing complicated about them.)
If you like using dark themes for reducing eye strain, you should give High Contrast a try. It uses several color filters to give your eyes a rest while making text easier to read. This extension is great for Google Docs and websites with a lot of text, such as Wikipedia. However, it might have unusual effects on media-heavy websites.
Take Care of Your Eyes
These Google Chrome extensions will help you reduce eye strain and avoid dry eye syndrome. You might not think your office job is physically demanding as you sit on a comfortable chair, but your eyes are working hard. You can also explore your device’s app store for apps that will help prevent the negative effects of long periods of desk work.