• Blink! It can save your eyes

    Andrej Fogelton is 29 years old PhD student at the Slovak Technical University and the winner of Social Impact Award Slovakia 2013.On his website blinkingmatters.com he writes that he has suffered with the dry eye syndrome since the beginning of his studies at the university. And that led him to an idea.

    As Andrej explains, a healthy human blinks 10-15 times per minute. When working with a computer, it is often half as much, because the screen is shining and the person is focused on work. Thus, the tear film is insufficiently restored to the eyes and the eyes dry, which can cause dryness, burning, itching, feeling of a foreign body or red eyes.

    “Because I was struggling with my eye problems, and I researched a lot about it, I was looking for a solution especially for myself. The idea of product commercialization came naturally with attending various startup events after Bratislava, such as the Social Impact Award,” says Andrej.

    The Eyeblink kernel is an algorithm for detecting blinking. Technological development of the software was part of Andrej’s dissertation work, and other students at the Faculty of Informatics and Information Technology of STU contributed to it, including Tomáš Drutarovský, whose algorithm was the basis of the existing version.

    As a look into the fire…

    How does it work? Besides the part, the software, in a simple way, reminds people to blink when working with computers, it does so much more. “An important feature is measuring, informing you about health and giving you the option of auto-dimming the screen, which is very useful especially for external monitors where you do not have the keyboard shortcut to adjust the brightness as it is on your laptop,” says Fogelton.

    According to him, one of the reasons why we blink too little is that the screen is too bright, people say “pulls our eyes”. “It is similar to fire, try to observe the person who is buried in the fire. We are exposed to screens for too many hours. “says Fogelton.

    As he adds, his software is currently being used mainly by customers from Slovakia, the EU countries, the USA, but also India, Vietnam and Russia.

    They buy it when they have a problem…

    The price for its noncommercial use is 12 and for commercial 20 euros per year. He has so far sold about 100 licenses to use the software. “It’s a little, but I believe that with increased efforts in marketing will the sales grow too. So far I found out that people are unwilling to pay for prevention. My customers are just people who know they have a problem and they deal with it.” he said.

    For more comfortable use of your computer, there are a few recommendations. “But I warn that I am not a doctor, these recommendations are based on my personal experience. Maybe I can help you.”

    Healthy recommendations…

    1. Find out more about dry eye syndrome, do not settle with drops of artificial eye sore.

    2. Remove the eye drops or use as little as possible. Rather wash your eyes regularly with cold water.

    3. Play PC games less. They are the worst, as we are very focused on what is happening on the playing field.

    4. Properly adjust the workstation. The window should not be behind the monitor, but from the side and at the right height. Adjust also the height of your monitor as it effects how dry your eyes are.

    5. Make breaks. Water breaks, tea, or just look out the window, focus for a longer distance.

    6. Lower the brightness of your monitor and not to look too closely at the monitor because you do not see anything.

    7. And remember: Blink often! It can save your life.