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To Blink or Not to Blink

For those of you who follow my blog, you know that I put a lot of weight into good quality blinks, and I hope you have been doing your blinking exercises.

We know from previous studies that people with dry eyes do not blink well, but a recent study revealed two interesting facts about blinking. Many do not close their eyes completely nor do they blink as often as those without dry eyes. The length of their blinks were also measured, and not surprisingly, when they do blink, they hold their eyes closed 2.5 times longer. So, is it the chicken or the egg? Do you develop dry eyes because you do not blink as often, or do you not blink as often because you have dry eyes? Do dry eye patients avoid blinking because when they do blink, they have to hold their eyes closed longer which is disconcerting when you are reading, on the computer, driving or even trying to carry on a conversation with someone? And if your eyes are uncomfortable from blinking, they may start tearing excessively from reflex tears. This further inconveniences the dry eye patient and may embarrass them…. (and when you explain that you have dry eyes that water a lot and that you are not crying, the person may think you are really crazy and slowly try to distance themselves from you).

The bottom line is blink more often and blink well!! And make sure you completely close your eyes when you blink. If you are well hydrated and taking your HydroEye supplements as I’ve suggested in the past, blinking should deliver a new layer of tears to lubricate and comfort your eyes.

Richard Hector, MD

Fellowship Trained Corneal & Dry Eye Specialist