With the use of digital devices at an all-time high, the effects of screen time on dry eye disease can literally be summarized in the blink of an eye. Blinking serves as a form of protection-it is our body’s way of naturally cleansing our eyes of debris. It also leads to the production of new tears and healthy oils necessary for tear-film stability. The mechanical motion of blinking triggers meibomian (oil) glands to secrete meibum-a necessary component of the tear film that prevents early evaporation of tears.
Spending several hours a day looking at digital devices slows blink-rates, and in many cases, blinking becomes incomplete and limited. This consequently reduces the production of healthy, stable tears.
The evaporative form of dry eye disease, also referred to as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, plays a role in 86% of dry eye cases. As blink rates slow, meibomian glands located along the upper and lower lid margins do not function effectively. Over time, stagnant oil will harden in the glands, eventually leading to complete loss of function and death of the glands.
Healthy blink rates, combined with proper care of the lid margins, can prevent Meibomian Gland Dysfunction during the digital age. Ask us how you can protect your eyes and maintain healthy visual function!
Aamena Kazmi, OD
The Dry Eye Doctor @ BFEC