The tear fluid that protects and lubricates the eye contains a protein called MUC5AC that is secreted by specialized cells in the upper eyelid.

Researchers found the levels of MUC5AC in the tears of those who stare for long periods at computer screens were almost low as compared to people with dry eye disease, the report said.

People staring at screens also tend to open their eyelids wider as compared to doing other tasks and the extra exposed surface area in addition to infrequent blinking can accelerate tear evaporation and is associated with dry eye disease.

"Office workers who are worried about dry eye can make some simple changes to decrease the risk of disease. The exposed ocular surface area can be decreased by placing the terminal at a lower height, with the screen tilted upward," Dr Yuichi Uchino, an ophthalmologist at the School of Medicine at Keio University in Tokyo said.

The amount of MUC5AC in the tears of workers, who looked at screens for more than seven hours per day was on an average 38.5 percent lower than the amount in the workers, who spent less than five hours a day looking at screens.

Among the subjects, 14 percent were diagnosed with dry eye disease and had 57 percent less MUC5AC in their tears compared to those without dry eye disease, the report said.

The research was published in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology.


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