Keep eyestrain at bay with Eyeleo.

Studying can be a pain, both mentally and physically. As we discussed in our review of f.lux, a program that changes the brightness and color of your monitor, using a computer for long periods of time causes excessive eyestrain, also called Asthenopia, which can cause excessive fatigue, headaches and blurred vision. While that program helps quite a bit in adjusting your eyes to changes in ambient light, it’s still easy to find yourself staring at a computer screen for so long that eyestrain may still occur. Luckily, another free program called Eyeleo is here to help keep your eyes rested, allowing you to study more effectively for longer periods of time.

It works by setting reminders for taking both long and short breaks from the computer screen. With short breaks, an animation appears prompting you to perform quick eye exercises designed to ease eye fatigue, such as viewing distant objects in the animation, looking out the window, or rolling your eyes for a set amount of time. Long breaks occur at longer intervals, and instruct you to leave the computer altogether. As we pointed out in our article on how to improve memory, these long breaks will not only provide much needed relief for your eyes, but they will also help maintain optimum focus while studying a single subject, as our ability to concentrate on a single subject drastically declines after 90 minutes.

The amount of time for each break can be customized by the user to suit their individual needs, and can even be set into “strict mode,” which disables the user’s ability to ignore the onscreen prompts if they find it especially difficult to tear themselves away from the computer. It can also be disabled for those times when a reminder to take a break would be more annoying than helpful, such as while playing a video game.

Eyeleo is currently available free of charge for Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.