We all blink, and we all do it quite frequently – up to 20 times a minute, which equates to 1,200 times an hour! Why do we do it? Turns out, it brings many benefits to your vision health.
You may not think of blinking as a vital aspect of your vision health care routine, but it really is. If you stopped blinking for a long period of time, you would heighten your risk of getting eye infections, not to mention you’d suffer from uncomfortable, itchy, dry eyes, with decreased vision clarity. The sole purpose of blinking, though, is to clean the surface of your eye of debris and wash it out with fresh tears.
This fresh coating of tears sharpens your vision, brightening and clearing the image your retina gets. Blinking also serves to nourish your eyes with oxygen and nutrients so they stay healthy and comfortable.
However, some of us blink more often than is really necessary for simple lubrication of the eye ball. Scientists suggest that blinking actually serves as momentary rest for our brains, with research showing that blinking is used by humans to momentarily disengage from the world in order to collect thoughts and refocus.
Avoiding Digital Eye Strain
Blinking is especially important if you spend a lot of time in front of screens – these days, who doesn’t? When you are intensely focused on digital work, your blink rate will decrease, which means your eyes lose out on all that cleaning and nourishment. Thus, you should make an effort to blink every 10 to 15 seconds so you can ensure sharper vision while working and prevent digital eye strain, which can lead to headaches.
Wearing contact lenses may cause you to blink less often because frequent blinking may be uncomfortable as your eyelids close over the foreign surface of your lens. But the benefits of blinking as well as rewetting the surface of your eye outweigh any discomfort you may feel. Full, frequent blinking helps keep your eyes from getting itchy or irritated, can reduce how much saline solution or eye drops you need, and may provide cleaner contact lenses and better vision.
If you’re finding it difficult to build new blinking habits, you can actually practice blinking exercises every day. Set aside five one-minute sessions throughout the day each day for about two weeks. During every minute, look up, down, right, left and center, blinking 10 times in each direction. Make sure your eyes close fully each time but refrain from squeezing your lids tight. The more you start to blink, the more comfortable you will be with frequent blinking going forward.
Contact Simon Eye Associates to Schedule an Eye Exam
If you are suffering from dry eye or need some advice on blinking exercises, contact us at 302-239-1933. With so many locations to choose from in Delaware, you’re sure to find one close to you.