Eye Strain Prevention Device
Computer vision syndrome (CVS) is a temporary condition resulting from focusing the eyes on a computer display for protracted, uninterrupted periods of time. Some symptoms of CVS include headaches, blurred vision, neck pain, redness in the eyes, fatigue, eye strain, dry eyes, irritated eyes, double vision, polyopia, and difficulty refocusing the eyes. These symptoms can be further aggravated by improper lighting conditions (i.e. glare or bright overhead lighting) or air moving past the eyes (e.g. overhead vents, direct air from a fan).
Asthenopic symptoms in the eye are responsible for much of the morbidity in CVS. Proper rest to the eye and its muscles is recommended to relieve the associated eye strain. Various catch-phrases have been used to spread awareness about giving rest to the eyes while working on computers. A routinely recommended approach is to consciously blink the eyes every now and then (this helps replenish the tear film) and to look out the window to a distant object or to the sky - doing so provides rest to the ciliary muscles. One of the catch phrases is the "20-20-20 rule" every 20 mins, focus the eyes on an object 20 feet (6 meters) away for 20 seconds. This basically gives a convenient distance and time frame for a person to follow the advice from the optometrist and ophthalmologist. Otherwise, the patient is advised to close his/her eyes (which has a similar effect) for 20 seconds, at least every half hour.
The problem is that 20-20-20 rule is voluntary and many people do not address this rule at all or only intermittently. Additionally companies may have policies around this but these are hard to police and they are potentially liable for future damages if employees get CVS. What is needed is an enforced solution to the 20-20-20 rule in order to satisfy health and safety requirements.
The core of this invention is the inclusion of software code on any device where a user might get CVS. This software would be activated on the device for the required period, say 20 second once every 20 minutes. The function of the software is to force the user to focus their eyes ca. 20 feet away for the required period of time. This is enabled in one embodiment by displaying an image or other information on the display, inclusive, if required, of the normal information that would have been displayed on the screen, which is displayed on the screen in a manner which requires the user to focus on the information for a minimum period of time in order to continue using their device; this image of other information is structured such that it forces the user to focus their eyes as if it were 20 feet away An alternative mode would be to use the forward facing camera on the device to monitor the user's eyes during a downtime period such that the device is not usable unless the user has diverted their eyes from the device for the appropriate period of time. The simple version of the software would be incorporated on the device as an app, in the OS, in the firmware, or even a cloud based solution. The user or a corporate IT manager would set up the software with key parameters being the time between events, the time of events and the type of eye-focusing practice that is required. This could be a requirement for the user not to look at the screen for a period (monitored with the camera eg) or the inclusion of a de-focused images or a de-focused version of the usual information as would have been displayed on the screen.
A defocused image can be constructed in a number of ways including
(A) magic eye images. Magic Eye is a series of books published by N.E. Thing Enterprises (renamed in 1996 to Magic Eye Inc.). The books feature autostereograms (precisely, random dot autostereograms), which allow some people to see 3D images by focusing on 2D patterns. The viewer must diverge his or her eyes in order to see a hidden three-dimensional image within the pattern. "Magic Eye" has become something of a genericized trademark, often used to refer to autostereograms of any origin. The autostereogram predates the Magic Eye series by several years. Christopher Tyler created the first black-and-white autostereograms in 1979 with the assistance of computer programmer Maureen Clarke.
(B) An alternative to magic eye images is to use displays which have a 3-D operating mode in addition to the usual 2-D operating mode. These are now becoming common.
Whereas we have stated above the use of an image by the word image we mean any information as displayed on a display, eg. A picture, text, video or other. This can include the OS and application data that would have normally been displayed on the screen, but now in a de-focused mode.
The user would satisfy the requirements of the CVS software by either looking away from the screen for the desired time period, or alternatively focusing on the de-focusing image for a required period time.