Blinking refers to the semi-autonomic rapid closing of the eyelid. Eye blinking is an essential bodily function that helps spread the tears across the surface of the cornea and conjunctiva. Along with this, it also helps remove irritants from the eye surface. Eye blinking has various other functions apart from lubricating eyes. However, excessive, uncontrollable, or frequent eye blinking is a matter of concern because it can be a symptom of various severe issues. Therefore, in this blog, we are going to discuss everything you must know about eye blinking. Here, you get information about the following points: –
- Types of eye blinking
- What is excessive eye blinking?
- Why do we blink our eyes?
- Causes of frequent eye blinking
- Diagnosis and treatment of blinking
- Other symptoms that can occur with eye blinking
What is eye blinking?
Eye blinking can be classified into three types – Spontaneous blink, Reflex blink, and Voluntary blink. Let’s understand the types of eye blinking in detail: –
1. Spontaneous Eye Blinking
Spontaneous blinking refers to the blinking that occurs without external stimuli or internal efforts. Moreover, this type of blinking is conducted in the pre-motor brain stem. Spontaneous eye blinking happens without conscious effort, just like breathing and digestion. Therefore, it is also known as involuntary eye blinking.
2. Reflex Eye Blinking
This type of eye blinking occurs as a response to the external stimulus. For example, it can occur when an object suddenly appears in front of the eye. Reflex blinking is also known as the Corneal reflex. However, the reflex eye blinking cannot be referred to as conscious blinking. It may occur as a response to tactile, optical, or auditory stimuli. For example, reflex blink is induced by stimuli, like loud sounds or bright lights.
3. Voluntary Blinking
A voluntary blink refers to the conscious blinking that includes all the three divisions of the orbicularis oculi muscle.
Why do we blink our eyes?
Eye blinking is a normal reflex that protects the eyes from bright light, dryness, or objects that can cause severe eye-related issues like corneal abrasions. In addition to this, blinking is also responsible for regulating tears in the eye that nourishes and cleanses the eye surface.
What are the causes of continuous eye blinking?
Eye blinking can be caused due to several reasons. For instance, it can be caused by conditions occurring in the nervous system, such as Blepharospasm. It is referred to as the condition characterized by rapid and uncontrolled blinking. Furthermore, let’s discuss some other common causes of eye blinking: –
1. Ophthalmologic causes of eye blinking
Eye blinking problems can be caused due to some injuries or specific disorders of the eyeball or the eye orbit. A few of these conditions are allergies, Blepharitis or inflammation of the eye surface, conjunctivitis, or inflammation of the eye surface. Apart from this, abnormal blinking of the eye can also be caused due to contact lenses, corneal abrasion, dry eyes, foreign body in the eye, etc.
2. Neurologic eye blinking causes
The problem of eye blinking can also be caused due to several neurologic disorders. These disorders include Attention deficit disorder, Blepharospasm – involuntary spasm or twitching of the eyelid, Dystonia, Facial tic, Parkinson’s disease, Tardive, Tourette’s syndrome, etc.
The patient can also experience some neurologic symptoms with eye blinking. For instance, a few of the most common neurologic symptoms that may occur with eye blinking problem are restlessness, facial paralysis, slowed muscle movements, etc.
3. Life-threatening causes of eye blinking
Sometimes, continuous eye blinking can be a symptom or indication of a severe and life-threatening condition. Therefore, it must be diagnosed or treated immediately. A few of the life-threatening conditions that may be associated with eye blinking are – Aicardi syndrome, Multiple sclerosis, Tourette syndrome, Wilson’s disease, Congenital glaucoma, Seizure disorder, and stroke.
4. Vision problems
Some vision problems can also cause eye blinking problems. A few of the most common vision-related problems are Myopia, Hyperopia, Presbyopia, and Strabismus.
What other symptoms can occur with eye blinking?
Eye blinking can occur with various other symptoms that affect the eye. A few of the common symptoms that may occur with eye blinking are listed below: –
· Double or blurred vision
· Ptosis or drooping eyelid
· Dry eyes
· Discharge from the eye
· Eye pain when blinking
· Increased light sensitivity
· Itchy eyes
· Watery eyes
How is the eye blinking problem diagnosed?
If you are suffering from excessive eye blinking, you should see a reliable eye doctor or an ophthalmologist. The ophthalmologist can examine your eye and diagnose the conditions and suggest remedial measures for the same.
What is the treatment of excessive or frequent eye blinking?
Treatment options for excessive eye blinking depend on its cause. Sometimes, it may go away on its own. However, severe eye blinking needs professional help. Moreover, let’s go through a few of the treatment methods of eye blinking according to their causes and know how to stop eye blinking: –
1. Eye irritation
Eye irritation can be cured by avoiding the irritants that are causing it and using other treatment methods causing it, such as: –
· Avoiding pollution or smoke
· Using warm compresses on the irritated eye.
· Using eye drops, allergy medications, antibiotics suggested by the eye care professional
· Removing the ingrown eyelashes
As we discussed in the previous section of this blog, eye strain can also be a common eye blinking reason. Eye strain can be treated by cutting down the exposure to the things causing it. It can include very bright light or excessive exposure to blue light from a computer or other devices.
3. Vision problems
These problems can be treated by correcting your vision. The treatment options for vision-related problems include: –
· prescription glasses or contact lenses prescribed by the trusted eye care professional
· Eye muscle surgery
· Vision therapy
4. Neurological conditions
If the patient is suffering from any serious neurological conditions, the doctor will evaluate the condition and create a treatment plan according to the requirement.
Eye blinking is an important bodily function that keeps our eyes safe from injuries, infections, and various other conditions. However, excessive or uncontrollable blinking can be a symptom of severe disease or disorder that we have discussed in the above blog. Apart from this, we have also discussed the causes, diagnosis and excessive eye blinking treatment of the blinking eye. Hence, after going through the above blog, you can understand why we blink our eyes and what to do if you experience continuous eye blinking.
Although eye blinking is a natural bodily function, too much eye blinking can be irritating. Apart from this, more frequent eye blinking can also signify some serious eye issues. A few of the most common causes of frequent or abnormal blinking of the eye include – eye irritation, irritants in the air, dry eyes, and inflammation of the iris or eyelid. In addition to this, corneal abrasion can also be a common eye blinking reason. Hence, you should not avoid the issue and immediately consult your eye care professional.
One of the most common reasons you need to close or squeeze your eyes shut is too little sleep. Apart from this, other factors like allergies, working on the screen for prolonged hours, driving a car for hours, poor lighting conditions, etc., can also make you squeeze your eyes shut.
Yes, prescription glasses can treat excessive blinking if it has been caused due to vision problems. Therefore, if you suffer from vision-related issues, you may experience excessive blinking. Hence, you should consult your eye care professional and get prescription glasses. Often, glasses with or without prescription shield against wind and irritant pollutants and help relieve excessive blinking that is caused by dryness or pollution. First, however, you must ensure that you are getting the prescription glasses from a reputed and trusted optician like R. Kumar Opticians.