Squinting at a computer screen reduces how often you blink and can lead to dry, irritated eyes, a new study finds.
We squint to focus our eyes for a better look.
But just a slight amount of squinting reduced blink rates by half, from 15 blinks a minute to 7.5 blinks a minute, the study revealed. The more that participants squinted, the less they blinked. The less they blinked, the more their eyes ached or burned and became dry.
“Blinking rewets the eyes. So if your job requires a lot of reading or other visually intense work, you may be blinking far less than normal, which may cause eye strain and dry eye," said James Sheedy, study leader and a professor of optometry at Ohio State University.
Dry eye is usually treatable with over-the-counter eye drops and is rarely debilitating, Sheedy and his colleagues say.
The researchers asked 10 college students to squint at different levels while watching a computer. All participants had 20/20 vision in both eyes. Their level of squint was measured and their blinking was videotaped.
The results were detailed in a recent issue of the journal Optometry and Vision Science. The study was funded by Microsoft, but the researchers have no affiliation with the corporation outside of the study, they said.