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At the end of the day, do your eyes feel irritated, dry or itchy? Your computer and smart phone may be to blame. Thanks to technology, what used to be problem for the old is now becoming an epidemic among the young.

For medical student Paulina Tran, computers and smart phones are a part of life.

I am staring at my laptop or my iPad or iPhone almost all day long, said Tran.

But her eyes are paying the price.

I just started getting this dryness in my eyes, almost like sandpaper, said Tran. The burning sensation became too much to handle.

Ophthalmologists say they're seeing a new generation of younger patients walk through their office doors.

In the past, 90 percent of our patients were over the age of 50 with dry eye symptoms, said ophthalmologist Dr. Gregg Feinerman. Now 50 percent of our patients are 20- to 30-year-olds.

Experts say these new dry eye cases aren't due to eye disease. but rather addiction to technology.

People are staring at their iPhones, and their laptops and not blinking, which is causing evaporation of the tear film, said Feinerman. They're staring at their devices for 12-hour periods and not taking breaks. and that's causing the burning and the tearing and blurry vision.

Doctor Rachel Bishop with the National Eye Institute says even something as simple as the position of your computer monitor could be to blame.

I advise them to try to position the computer so it's a little bit lower, their eyes don't have to be open quite so wide to be looking at the screen comfortably, said Bishop.

And follow the 20/20/20 rule.

Almost every 20 minutes, take about a 20 second break and look off into what we think far away - 20 feet, said Dr. Bishop. Blink a little, relax your focusing muscle also and let your eye kind of have a bit of a break. And then go back to your tasks.

Use artificial tears to reduce discomfort.

Look for ones that say for lubrication, not other reasons, not looking to get the red out, not looking for allergy symptoms, said Bishop.

Tran is trying to scale back on her technology use.

I'm trying my best to take more breaks, she said.

While occasional dry eye is probably not serious, more severe cases can cause permanent damage to the cornea and lead to complications.

If artificial tears and taking breaks aren't clearing up your symptoms, it may be time to consult your eye doctor.

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