We all blink everyday, most times unconsciously and sometimes we blink deliberately. It looks so normal to blink but have you ever imagined how the the blinking process really happens? And some of the factors associated with blinking.
How we blink.
Remember we have two eyelids, the upper eyelid and the lower eye lid, when we blink it is the upper eye lids that actually relaxes and comes down to meet the lower lid and also retracts and stays folded when eyes are opened.
This process is controlled by occulomotor nerves from the brain for opening the eye and facial nerve for closing the eye, they both target the muscle in the upper eyelid.
There are 2 types of blinking.
Voluntary Blinking: This is the type of blinking done deliberately.
Reflex Blinking: This occurs in response to stimulus such as something rapidly moves across your eyes, a loud noise sounds around you or a sudden bright light.
Spontaneous Blinking: this is occurs without conscious effort, just like breathing.
Why we blink.
We blink for two main reasons;
1. Blinking helps to lubricate our eyeball ( eye surface). It spreads tear film across the eyes to keep it moist and smooth.
2. It helps get rid of dirts and any foreign substance on the eye surface and drain them off.
Other additional functions include the tear film also supplies oxygen to the cornea.
What about people that blink excessively?
Blinking excessively simply means blinking more times than normal and this can be due to any of the following;
1. Eye irritation usually on the eye surface.
2. Dryness of the eye.
3. Straining the eye.
4. Refractive error such as long sightedness, short sightedness.
5. Mental issues such as stress and anxiety.
6. Habit – blinking the eye deliberately and rapidly may turn out to become a habit and a reason why some people blink excessively.
Other facts you should know about Blinking
Infants blink less times than adults do, they blink like 2 – 3 times in a minutes but it increases as they grow up, am average adults blinks about 14 -17 times in a minute.
You blink more when you’re talking, nervous, or in pain.
You blink less while reading or when you sense possible danger.
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