[Windows] Help protect yourself from eye strain with xTheEye

I don’t know about you, but when I get on the computer I lose track of time. I get into whatever it is I’m looking at, and before I know it hours are gone. Needless to say, I don’t always give my eyes the rest that they need. Not because I don’t want to, but because I forget to. That is no longer a problem with xTheEye.


Main Functionality

In a nut shell, xTheEye is a program that is used to help prevent eye strain. It does this in the easiest possible way. Periodically, the program will signal for you to relax your eyes. Once you are reminded, you can take a bit of time to rest your eyes and avoid strain.


  • No installation required
  • Runs virtually unnoticed in the background
  • Simple yet effective


  • Doesn’t magically fix eye strain (you still have to be responsible)
  • If you don’t use your computer a lot, this program won’t help you much


Have you ever found yourself staring at your computer screen for hours on end and forgetting to take a break? Well, it happens to me from time to time. By the end, my eyes hurt and sometimes it can cause a headache. The funny part is, if I would have just remembered to take a break every so often, I could have avoided the whole thing. Well, that is where xTheEye comes in.

No, xTheEye is not some magical program that keeps your eyes from becoming strained (although that would be pretty sweet). It is a program that periodically reminds the user to take a break. xTheEye is a very small, but effective tool to help you.

The way it works is simple. After downloading the program, simply click on it to start. No installation required. Now, every 20 minutes the program is going to dim your screen for about five seconds as a reminder to take a break. This is a good time to do a simple eye exercise. The site recommends taking a break for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes. You can do this by focusing on an object that is about 20 meters away from you.

When I first tried out the program, I was skeptical at best. I did not think that I would need to be reminded every 20 minutes to take a break. On top of that, I did not think that a 20 second break would do much for my eyes. However, I was wrong. Not only did the 20 minute reminder always catch me off guard, but the 20 second break actually helped. By the end of a normal computing session, my eyes did not feel nearly as tired as usual.


If you don’t use your computer a lot, this program is not going to help you. However, for those of us who can spend hours surfing the internet, you owe it to your eyes to give this program a try. Even if you find xTheEye to not be particularly useful to you, you have little to nothing to lose — the program is smaller than most Word documents, and there is no installation required.

Price: Free

Version reviewed:

Supported OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7

Download size: 71.5KB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 0/43

Is it portable? Yes

xTheEye homepage (scroll to the bottom of the page)

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  1. himagain

    I have a friend who is a typical gaming freak/fanatic (old enough to know better but….. typical addict)
    Lost his night vision recently – admits he became a dangerous driver.
    I got him to use a reminder program and set it for 60 mins.
    3 good things happened:
    1. He became a MUCH better gamer. (Brain literally starts *physically* shutting down after 60 min anyway)
    2. Night Eye function returned.
    3.Memory returned. ( Especially useful for under 30’s today)

    I suggest http://www.reminderfox.org/ VERY versatile program.
    Of course, if you use dumb things like Internet Explorer or worse, Apple(r) products, you are on your own……..

    Finally, because the air around you is polluted to an incredible degree today (and aircon makes it worse for your eyes) when you take a break, look at the ceiling and simply rapidly blink your eyes for just 10 seconds and literally see (and feel) the difference.
    NB wannabe hackers: Do not look up at that bright thing in the daytime sky – it is called the Sun God and will hurt your eyes.

  2. Pete

    This could be useful if you’re trying to learn something, too. Plenty of evidence suggests learning in short bursts is more effective than continuous, protracted efforts; interestingly, the recommendations are generally for no more than about 20–25 minutes. So, if you’re studying rather than simply surfing, try using the 20 second break to mentally review what you’ve just studied.

  3. JMJ

    Get a spouse or girl/boy-friend. S/he will help remind you to take care of your eyes and, hopefully, other equally important body parts.

    Pro’s: Absolutely no hit to your computer’s performance.
    Con’s:They may include a Nag Scream.

  4. h_warriner

    Maybe I don’t understand this program completely, but I think I need something a bit less generic, than a stop watch. I’d like to be able to identify a program (or a series of programs) that the software should watch.

    High on my list would be things like games, which I get too involved with, and even spreadsheets at times.

    Did I miss this feature, or is it a simple timer only?