Blinking is a natural eye movement that occurs many times throughout the day. It is a quick action that can last only a tenth of a second. This short action is crucial to the health of your eyes. It spreads fresh layers of tears across the surface of your eyeball, helps keep your eyes moist and clear of any debris. Blinking is also responsible for shepherding away extra tear fluid through the tiny holes at the corners of your eyes and down into your nasal passages. This is why you often get a runny nose when you cry!
On average, a person blinks about 15 times every minute. This totals up to about 621.5 million blinks in a lifetime!
The purpose of blinking is to replenish the precorneal tear film, preventing dry eyes, washing away any foreign objects, lubricating the eye and providing a rest to the ocular muscles. It also protects the cornea from infection and provides the eyes with oxygen.
While it may seem like a random body function, you can actually control how frequently you blink. The rate of blinking can be affected by a number of factors including age, disease and medications. The most common cause of decreased blinking is extended computer usage. Research shows that you blink 66% less while using a screen device which can lead to dry eyes and eye strain.
Make a conscious effort to blink more and your eyes will thank you! A simple way to remind yourself is by placing a note on your computer that says “Blink More.” It will become a natural habit in no time.