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Biology

Blink more

Having moved from working outside to teaching and recently onto the computer I have become more and more interested in the effects of staring at the computer all day on eye health. I try to do all the things you are supposed to do: take frequent breaks, look at things further away, etc. But I have heard that you also blink less when using a computer, which results in dryer eyes. 

Do we really blink less?

Yes. By about 40% (Kashima et al, 2005).

In addition, it appears that the type of computer task affects blink rate. Kim et al (2007) found that male teenagers blinked significantly less when playing computer games compared to viewing online lectures.

Is blinking less associated with increased symptoms of computer vision syndrome (CVS)?

Yes. (CVS symptoms include eye strain, blurred vision, headaches, and a few others.)

Portello, et al (2013) found that incomplete blinks also contribute to CVS symptoms.

Is it only computers and other electronics that cause CVS, or do other focused tasks in the same visual range have the same effect?

Kashima et al (2005) found that installing anti-reflection screens resulted in improved blink rates that did not differ significantly from normal. This indicates that other types of tasks are less likely to cause the same eye strain.

About Tai Munro

I am passionate about making science, sustainability, and sport accessible through engaging information and activities.

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