New research suggests squinting at a computer screen can cut the number of times someone blinks in half each minute, leading to cases of dry eye.
The more the participants in this study squinted their eyes, the less they blinked. And the less they blinked, the more they mentioned instances of ached eyes or burning eyes, and the more they reported sensations of dryness, irritation and tearing.
Even a small decrease in the amount of squinting cut blinking rates by half, from 15 blinks a minute to 7.5 blinks a minute.
James Sheedy a professor at Ohio State University says, “People tend to squint when they read a book or a computer display, and that squinting makes the blink rate go way down. 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.”
Squinting serves two purposes: It improves eyesight by helping to more clearly define objects that are out of focus. It also cuts down on the brightness from sources of glare. It may be voluntary or involuntary – a person working at a computer may not realize that he is squinting, AHN reports.