If your eyes are feeling dry and itchy, it might not just be allergies. NPR points out that as we stare at screens more and more, our eyes are drying out because we're not blinking enough.
Photo by Lee Haywood
It seems pretty silly, but when we stare at computer screens, tablets and phones, we tend not to blink. This causes problems with our eyes:
It turns out that tiny glands in the eyelids called meibomian glands squirt oil on the surface of the eye. "Every time you blink, you get a squirt of oil, every four seconds, all day long," Marioneaux told Shots.
I didn't know I have meibomian glands, but I do know that my eyes feel arid after a long day staring at a screen in the office. Dry indoor air doesn't help, Marioneaux says. And without the oil change from blinking, the eyes dry out even faster. "The surface of the eye dries out until the consistency of the tears change," she says. "They become more acid, a concentrated tear that will further irritate the surface of the eye."
The solution? Well, it's to blink more often:
The first line of defence: Blink more. "You want to do mindful blinks," Marioneaux says. "When you're at red lights or waiting for something to download, do this: 1,2,3,4, blink. 1,2,3,4, blink. Squeeze to get that oil flowing."
Unless you're downloading stuff all day long, it might be a good idea to take those blink breaks after a more common activity. Otherwise, make sure you're following the 20-20-20 rule.