Many of us in our younger years have been in a staring contest. Remember how difficult it was to keep your eyes open for such a long time? Eye doctors tell us it is because of our natural instinct to blink. However, what are the reasons behind our need to blink?
Apparently, there are two main reasons for blinking. First of all, blinking clears away particles from the eyes. For instance, if there is a foreign body in the eye, it helps to remove it. Sometimes particles get under the eyelid or else something blew in. Also, this can feel very painful since there are many nerve endings in the cornea.
Secondly, blinking helps to lubricate the eyeballs. The eyes need a smooth surface for light to correctly focus on, so vision doesn’t get blurry. Bling brings out a tear film, which usually consists of water, mucus, and oil to maintain a smooth eyeball surface. Also, it prevents the eye from drying out which can feel uncomfortable. Typically, when your eye has a large area of dryness, it kind of feels like a scratch on your cornea, the eye’s outer protective layer.
Secondly, blinking lubricates the eyeballs. The eyes require a smooth surface for light to focus properly, so you don’t have blurry. Blinking releases a tear film — which mostly includes water, oil, and mucus — to maintain a smooth eyeball surface. Also, it stops the eye from drying out, which can be uncomfortable. When there is a large area of dryness, it feels similar to a scratch on the cornea, – the eye’s outer protective layer. This can be very distressing since there are many nerve endings in the cornea.
Why Is Blinking So Important?
Our eyes have to blink several times every minute, but do you completely understand why it’s so critical for optimal eye health?
You can time yourself for a minute and notice how many times you blink. On average, adults blink between ten and twenty times per minute, with each blink lasting a tenth of a second.
When We Blink, Our Eyes Get Cleaned And Refreshed
Each time our eyes blink, they spread fresh layers of tears throughout the eyes’ surface, preventing them from drying out and removing small irritants such as dirt and dust particles that could obstruct vision. When the eyes have too much moisture, the excess tears drain out through the very small holes at the corners of the eyes (the tear ducts) and down into the nasal passages. So, if you have ever asked yourself why your nose usually runs when you cry, now you understand its cause!
We Usually Blink Less When Focusing
Occasionally, when we are fixating on something such as a game, book, project, or TV show, the eyes usually blink less than usual. As a matter of fact, as little as three times per minute. That’s a lot lower than the healthy rate of blinking our eyes depends on carrying out their job effectively. If the eyes go a long time with less than normal blinking, it risks dry eye or eye strain.
Make Blinking More A Habit
Sometimes not blinking enough can lead to eye issues, especially when you’re doing something that needs you to focus. So, try to make a conscious effort to blink more. If you work on it continuously, you can train your eyes to blink a lot more out of habit. To force yourself into the habit of blinking more, you could even set reminders to do blinking exercises every hour. You will soon find that you won’t need reminders anymore. An excellent, simple exercise to help maintain fresh feeling eyes is to close them, wait a moment, squeeze your eyelids, and then open them again.
The Systems Behind Blinking
Although blinking seems to be a very simple thing to do, it needs a lot of various mechanisms working together harmoniously in our eyes and eyelids, including different types of tear production, tiny glands making oil to refill the film that prevents our tears from drying out, and many assorted sets of muscles to carry out the physical movement of blinking. Several things can go haywire when there are so many moving parts. If you have dry eyes or eye strain and blinking exercises are not doing it for you, talk to your eye doctor at Excel laser Vision Institute!
How To Blink Your Eyes
Yes, indeed, there is the right way to blink your eyes! As you know by now, the purpose of blinking is to refresh your eyes by moistening them with protein-rich nutrients, cleaning them of any foreign objects, and giving them the much-needed lubricant they require. This may sound like a lot to ask from just one blink, but those are the advantages of this straightforward action.
To blink correctly and efficiently two factors have to happen: closing the eyes completely for a short moment and using the correct eye muscles.
The muscles that are used for blinking are situated above the eyes. To ensure you are using these muscles instead of facial muscles, place your fingers at the corners of your eyes by the temples. Close your eyes. You should not sense any movement under your fingers if you used your eye muscles.
Once you close your eyes, pause. This step is vital since if you want the blink to be effective, the eyes have to be completely closed. You can quickly test this by placing a finger under your eye, just above the cheekbone. When you close your eyes, you should sense your upper eyelashes touch your finger.
Advantages Of Blinking
When you become an expert on the blink technique, you are set to get the perks. During the blink, protein-rich moisture coats your eyes, providing them with essential nutrients. Also, this liquid cleans the eyes, getting rid of any dirt or debris. Plus, an oily substance is discharged, which helps prevent moisture from evaporating too rapidly while also lubricating the eyelids to stop chaffing.
How does all this happen? When we blink, we squeeze the glands in the eyes that create these liquids. Therefore, nourishment, cleansing, and oily lubrication are common results of the glands releasing this needed tear film. However, it only occurs when the eyes are completely closed in a full blink.
Blink More And Properly
No doubt, you now know that the blink has tons of benefits, but unfortunately, you may not be receiving the complete blink treatment. Most of the blame is placed on our digital devices, and although research has revealed that many of us blink about the same number of times when reading on the computer screen or from printed material. However, the difference is how they blink.
Many people had incomplete blinks while reading from a computer monitor. This can bring about eye strain and fatigue just because the eyes are not receiving the nourishment and cleansing linked with a blink.
In a perfect world, a person should blink their eyes around fifteen or thirty times per minute, and the blinks should be as soft as butterfly wings opening and closing. When you become more self-conscious of how often you blink, your thoughts will become a subconscious habit that helps your eyes.
So, make each blink matter. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind.
Blink your eyes regularly. Place a “Blink More” note on your computer to help you remember. Digital eye strain is becoming very common and can be simply rectified with regular blinking.
Practice a complete blink. You can blink naturally and correctly when you know what a full blink feels like.
Close your eyes for a short moment now and then when reading or on the computer. This will not only give you the advantage of a blink but will provide your eyes with a quick rest.
So much good can happen in the blink of an eye, but you have to be conscious of when and how you blink your eyes to get the full benefits.