CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A new study has found that the time you spend staring at screens could blind you down the road.

We’ve always known staring at your devices can strain your eyes. But experts have generally said it does not cause long-term damage-- until now.

The new study, published Monday by scientists at University Complutense of Madrid (UCM), found lab rats that were exposed to LED screens for 16 hours a day experienced a 23% higher rate of permanent retina cell death after only three months.

They plan to extend their research to see if humans experience the same effects.

Experts suggest the 20-20-20 rule: for every 20 minutes you stare at a digital screen, turn your gaze 20 feet away for 20 seconds or more to protect your eyes.

The researchers in this study were particularly concerned about children, suggesting parents should seriously consider enforcing a no-screens rule for a few hours a day.