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Blinking and Eye Health

We blink our eyes several times every minute of the day, but why do we need to?

Count the number of times you blink in a minute (when you do this, don’t try blinking more or less frequently than you normally would). The typical number of blinks per minute for an adult is between ten and twenty, each blink lasting a tenth of a second.

We Refresh and Clean Our Eyes by Blinking

Our eyelids spread fresh layers of tears across the surface of our eyes with every blink, which keeps them from drying out and brushes away little irritants like dirt and dust particles that could interfere with our vision. When our eyes have too much moisture, the excess tears drain out through the tear ducts located at the corners and flow down into our nasal passages. Now you know why your nose gets runny when you cry!

Focusing Leads to Less Frequent Blinking

When we are deeply focused on a book, game, project, or TV show, we tend to blink less often than usual — sometimes as few as three times per minute. This is significantly lower than the optimal blinking rate that our eyes require to function effectively. If we persistently blink less than necessary, it can compound into eye strain or dry eye.

Try to Make a Habit of Blinking More

If you find that insufficient blinking is causing eye problems, especially during periods of concentration, try making a conscious effort to blink more often. With enough practice, you can train your eyes to blink more frequently. Start simply: whenever you're thinking or performing a task that doesn't require your vision, take a break and blink.

You could also set reminders to do blinking exercises every hour until you get into the habit. After a while, you may no longer require the reminders. A simple exercise to refresh your eyes is to close them, pause briefly, squeeze your eyelids, and then open them again.

How Does Blinking Work?

Blinking may seem like a simple action, but it actually involves multiple mechanisms working in sync in our eyes and eyelids, such as various types of tear production, tiny glands producing oil to replenish the film that prevents our tears from drying out, and different sets of muscles responsible for the physical movement of blinking. With so many moving parts involved, there are various ways that things can go wrong. If you're experiencing dry eye or eye strain despite doing blinking exercises, don't hesitate to schedule an appointment with us.

To us, our patients are the best sight for sore eyes!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Author Vision Source — Published March 27, 2023

Posted In Eye Health Awareness