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 re-wets 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.

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