The Minnesota Optometric Association has issued a statement warning gamers about the risk of Computer Vision Syndrome and reminding them to blink.

The statement, reported by Kotaku, said that heavy gaming can result in constant eye movement and refocusing, straining the eye muscles. According to Dr. G. John Lach, president of the Minnesota Optometric Association, CVS can often be the result, with symptoms including eye irritation, dry eyes, headaches, pain in the eyes or surrounding muscles, squinting, excessive blinking, increased sensitivity to light and difficulty focusing.

Dr. Lach said several simple steps could reduce the occurrence and severity of CVS. “Be sure there isn’t glare on the screen,” he said. “Gamers need to sit directly in front of the screen instead of at an angle. The screen should be below eye level, not above it, yet most people have their screens at the wrong level. Taking a frequent break is really important. The best thing to do is get up, and focus on as far-away object as possible. Try to follow the ‘ten-ten rule’: For every ten minutes of gaming, take a break of ten seconds.” Blinking regularly is also recommended.

Heavy computer use for non-gaming purposes can also result in CVS, according to the American Optometric Association, adding that a recent study found 82 percent of Americans frequently work at a computer, half of whom reported previous incidents of eyestrain. Computer glasses and anti-glare screens are commonly available but rarely used, according to the association, which also suggested avoiding glare, blinking and taking regular breaks from video screens.

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