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Does Staring at a Screen Damage Your Eyes?

Are Computer Screens Ruining Our Eyes?

Everyone's experienced eye strain at some point in our lives--especially those of us who spend a majority of our days in front of a bright computer screen. If if your full-time job doesn't require you to be starting at a laptop, it's likely that you spend a few hours each day looking at a screen of some sort, whether it's a computer, phone, tablet, or even TV.

The constant use of digital devices certainly puts a strain on our eyes, and also leads to dryness (according to the University of Iowa Health Care, you blink 66% less when looking at a screen, which causes your eyes to burn and become dry), but is this all-too common practice actually harming your eye-sight? Not necessarily.

Melanie A. Schmitt, an assistant professor of opthalmology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, spoke to the Huffington Post about the topic, and it turns out, that screens aren't to blame for the recent increase in cases of nearsightedness that eye doctors around the world are currently seeing.

Though scientists still are unsure of whether or not this spike is associated with screen time, they do admit that the strain of staring at a screen causes the sensations often associated with nearsightedness-- but the treatment does not call for glasses.

Whether or not your vision is going, spending hours in front of a computer certainly is trying on your eyes. Whether or not it's causing permanent damage, you need to take care of your eyes, and doctors recommend what's known as the 20/20/20 rule: "Take a 20 second break to look at something 20 feet away every 20 minutes. You can also adjust your computer to remove a glare if you have one and you can use eye drops to increase moisture."

Schmitt recommends taking it a step further: "I always tell patients and parents that come in to see me the importance of getting children outside to play and be exposed in natural lighting," she said. "This goes for adults, too: Going outside is an opportunity for the eyes to rest from near-work and look at distance instead."

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