Blinking is second nature to you, and even as you read this you’re only going to be thinking about it because you’ve thought about it. Although it often goes by the wayside, blinking is a vital part of our eye health however, and blinking can keep your eyes healthy and managed for a long time in your life.
It’s estimated that an adult will blink between ten or twenty times each minute. This might seem quite low, but with each of those blinks taking one-tenth of a second, blinking adds up to around ten percent of our entire waking life!
So why is blinking so important to our eye health, and why are many adults not blinking as much as they should?
Lubricating Our Eyes
Blinking is necessary to clean and moisturize our eyes. Each time we blink, a thin layer of tears is spread across the eye surface, keeping them from drying out as well as brushing away any small particles of dust or dirt that could otherwise irritate our eyes or impair our vision.
Focusing Removes Blinking
Did you know that the number of times we blink decreases drastically when we are focused on something? On average we only blink three to eight times per minute when reading, watching TV, listening to a podcast, working on a computer, or another activity that requires intense focus. That’s roughly 60 percent less than our normal rate of blinking! This lack of blinking over time can lead to eyestrain and dry eyes.
Relieving Strain and Dry Eyes
For the most part, we may not realize when we’re blinking. However, making a conscious effort to blink more often during high focus activities can do our eyes a world of good.
Make it a habit to close your eyes when you are thinking or doing something that doesn’t require your vision. Set reminders for yourself to do a blinking exercise every hour during periods of focus. One good exercise that will leave your eyes feeling fresher is to simply close your eyes and pause, squeeze them for a moment, open them and relax.
A Lot Happens In the Blink of an Eye
The mechanism of our eyes is incredible! Different types of tears along with multiple oil-producing sebaceous glands work together all day to nourish and protect our eyes. Truly, a lot happens in the blink of an eye!
Ask yourself, are you blinking enough throughout the day?
Sources: The Science & Art of Blinking (http://www.nkcf.org/science-and-art-of-blinking/)