I never thought I felt eye strain from looking at big, bright screens all day—I thought my young eyes were invincible. Then I started getting sharp headaches at the end of every day, and I realized I needed to change something.
I decided to finally take the jump and start using f.lux. f.lux is an app that changes the color temperature of your display, adapting the light you see to the time of day, which helps to reduce eye strain. There’s a new beta out for Mac that brings some really fantastic improvements and enhancements (don’t worry, there’s a Windows version too!).
In the morning and afternoon, you’ll see the blue-ish colored light that your screen normally pushes out. As the sun sets, the light will shift to a more reddish color, and when night falls, it’ll become an even deeper red. Every color step is customizable, so you decide how red-shifted you’d like each phase to be—I like mine on the deeper end of the scale.
It’s normal to see blue light during the day, but as it gets darker, that light is harsh on our eyes. Red light is easier on your eyes, especially at night—it’s why red lights are used to preserve vision at night.
When I tell people in our industry about f.lux, I often hear something like, "But what if I’m doing color-sensitive work?" The newest f.lux beta has a feature that allows you to disable f.lux in certain applications. As you switch into an application where you’ve disabled f.lux, your screen will slowly transition to normal colors. The smooth transition will help prepare your eyes for the blue wave of light you’re about to get hit with, so it’s not too jarring.
For anyone who spends hours a day looking at a screen, f.lux is a must-have. We spend a lot of time and effort making sure we use ergonomically correct keyboards, chairs, and desks, so it’s time we gave our eyes a similar level of treatment.
8 Reader Comments
Everyone can benefit from f.lux. Been using it since it was announced, and I can’t imagine a workday without it really.
If anyone is using GNU/linux, check out a package called redshift & gtk-redshift
Interesting app. I’ve installed it, let’s see how we go tonight. Tried the red tinge (it’s about 5pm) and it was pretty shocking, but I’m keeping an open mind! 🙂
Nice. Great alternative to the burn-a-hole-in-your-retina white!
Hm.. but it doesn’t actually reduce the display brightness which is usually what I do manually. Is there some scientific evidence that warmer reddish colors are really better for the eyes?
Sounds interesting. I’ve been using Gunnar Optiks computer spectacles lately which have yellow lenses and have definitely noticed an improvement in my eyes at end of day…
I’ve been using F.lux for a while now, first on PC and now on Mac. Ironically, recent OS X upgrade to Mavericks had gummed up F.lux’s preference panel, so I took the opportunity to go download and install the latest version. Wow! The extra daytime and sleeptime settings really make a difference, and I’ve definitely noticed less eye-strain when working for long periods.
Of course, you should really take regular screen breaks during the day, and also turn down the brightness of your display from 100%.
A couple months ago I started getting dry eyes outta nowhere. A few posts recommended F.lux, others recommended computer glasses (which seemed like a gimmic).
I had never worked in the evening though, so F.lux didn’t make a ton of sense. After reading about it more, I found a lot of pros recommending the 20/20/20 rule. Basically, every 20 minutes, rest your eyes for 20 seconds by looking at something 20 feet away. The trouble was remembering to do it! So, I created this little chrome extension: Preventing Eye Strain.
After creating the extension and posting articles about it, most people would comment and recommend F.lux!
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