Wondering why some people blink more and some don’t? The average American adult blinks a whopping 29,000 times every day. That’s around 1,300 times each hour. The reason for this blinking is linked to the lubrication of your eyes.
What blinking does
Each time you blink, your body does so to spread lubricating oils around the eyeball. These lubricating oils are produced by the meibomian glands in each eye and the oil is, unsurprisingly, called meibum.
Every blink distributes the oil and keeps the outer surface of the eye in good shape and make it less susceptible to rips or tearing. If you blink more, you also help protect the eye from other potential damages or dangers. These dangers include contaminants and even bright light.
Have you ever suddenly walked into a brightly lit room and found yourself blinking against the sudden light? That’s your body protecting itself.
Can you make yourself blink more?
That’s a good question because blinking is not a conscious action. This means that our bodies blink subconsciously — without us even having to think about it. If you’re suffering from allergies, for example, you may find yourself blinking more frequently naturally.
If you’ve recently had an eye procedure, your doctor may provide you with lubricating eye drops, or remind you to frequently blink to keep the eye healthy. Frequent blinking may expedite healing times as well.
Some people blink more than others
If you’ve ever met someone who blinks a lot, you may be wondering why. Firstly, there can be several reasons why an individual blinks more. Or there may not be one single, unifying cause. Most often, blinking a lot is linked to allergies. People who are sensitive to pollens, animal danders, and other contaminants may blink frequently when they are being exposed to them.
Other causes of excessive blinking may include:
- Facial tics
- Injuries to the eye’s surface
- Eye trauma
- Neurological disorders (rare)
Even though blinking is good for your eye health, there are some cases where blinking more may signal an underlying condition. If you notice yourself blinking a lot more than normal, visit your eye doctor for a full consultation. Your eye doctor will then let you know if this blinking is a matter of eye health or something else.
Interestingly, people who are very creative or think very flexibly have been shown to blink more than others. Research is ongoing into why this is but at the moment it’s believed to be linked to dopaminergic functioning.
If you notice a child blinking excessively, don’t panic, the cause is probably allergies. But that child should be taken to see a medical professional to rule out anything more serious.
To summate, blinking is good for your eye health. It lubricates your eyes and keeps them in good working order. Some people blink more than others. This isn’t always a cause for concern, but ought to be checked by an eye doctor just in case.
If you notice that you’re blinking more or less than needed and would like to know why, please make an appointment or walk in to see us at the New Jersey Eye Center. We’re located in both Bergenfield and Passaic NJ. As a full service eye care and eye surgery center, we have the tools to get to the bottom of your blinking.