App of the Week: How to protect your eyesight

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 October, 2012, 12:42pm


Related topics

How to protect your eyesight


Rating 3/10

The blurb describes the app as a solution to reduce your visual fatigue and protect your eyesight because "myopia results from aesthenopia". I should have heeded my inner alarms that go off when apps unnecessarily use big words to describe perfectly simple things. Aesthenopia means eye strain.

The app is a series of eye exercises. You are instructed to hold your head still while following a red dot around a series of mazes on the screen. On an iPhone screen, this is not a challenge as your eyes need to move only a little to keep up.

You are supposed to do this for 10 minutes every two hours. Before realising the red dot's speed could be increased by tapping the "+" sign, I thought the greatest benefit of this app would be to put you to sleep within that time. The default speed is slow, and I found myself trying to push the red dot along faster with my eyes - a sort of telekinetic exercise. At high speed, your eyes begin to flicker in a way that would be alarming to an onlooker.

Useless, I thought, until I clicked the information button and found a section with tips for eyesight care. The information here is what I had always understood to be good advice. That is: take a break, and move your eyeballs up, down, left and right, clockwise and anti-clockwise; do a few reps of focusing your eyes on a distant object and study its detail for 25 seconds, then focus on your palm for five seconds; then close your eyes and softly massage the acupuncture points for a few minutes. Unfortunately, it doesn't identify where those points are.

I was beginning to have a little respect for the written instructions until I read the healthy foods section. Sensible suggestions such as foods rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and zinc were listed - but pearls? Wouldn't egg shells do?

I do owe my eyes a little more care. The solution is an alarm on my iPhone to remind me to take a break from my screen, look at a distant object, then back at my palm. No red dots for me.