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Time Out tip: dry eye blink reminders

People use Time Out for lots of reasons; to avoid RSI, to get regular exercise, to avoid sore eyes, to remember to eat regularly, to stop work at the end of the day, and more. But one use case that I've seen several people mentioning recently is to help with dry eyes.

A nice comment from one example:

" eyes are freakishly dry, way over-the-top compared to the average dry eye patient, and your app has allowed me to use my computer longer without killing my eyes. I can't thank you enough for making it!!"

People who experience dry eyes can sometimes find that blinking more frequently can help keep the eyes lubricated. That can be hard to remember when focused on work, though. Time Out's default Micro break can help with that, but some people prefer even more frequent reminders.

Time Out breaks can currently be configured to occur as much as once per minute, which is a lot for a typical break, but by making the break only last one second, and configuring the other Schedule settings to avoid skipping or delaying it, the break can be a very brief reminder without being too disruptive:

Time Out schedule page

In the next version of Time Out, I am considering enabling using frequency units of seconds, instead of minutes (and hours, etc). It is currently limited to a minimum of 1 minute, as that seemed like a reasonable minimum, but a very quick break like this every few seconds does have merit. But read on for a way this can be achieved even now.

The Appearance options can be set to avoid fading the screen via the None theme, with zero fade-in and fade-out times (set the fade times before changing the theme):

Time Out appearance page

A great way to very quickly remind yourself to blink is to flash the screen. This can be done via the Flash Screen action. The color and duration of the flash can be tweaked as desired.

And if once per minute isn't enough, you can add as many as you want on the Actions page, spaced out by setting the offset After Start, like this to have it flash every 10 seconds:

Time Out actions page

I hope this is helpful to people suffering from dry eye, or anyone wanting more frequent reminders.