Posted on Jul 19, 2022 19
Why does a person blink, and what are the benefits?
We all blink frequently. The average person does this about 15-20 times a minute - so often that our eyes are closed for about 10% of our waking hours. But why does this happen?
Humans blink to protect their eyes from drying out
The up and down movement of our eyelids when we blink resembles car wipers. The eyelids are a fold of skin and can be lowered and raised by special muscles. They, like windshield wipers, work automatically. Blinking is a reaction that the body regulates itself.
Statistically, a person blinks every six seconds. This means that throughout our lives we raise and lower our eyelids about 250 million times!
So why does a person blink? Blinking protects your eyes from drying out by lubricating and moisturizing them. A series of 20 to 30 small glands, which exit between the lashes, run along the edge of each eyelid. When we close our eyes, the glands secrete secretions. These secretions keep the eyes from drying out by lubricating them, as well as the eyelids and lashes.
Blinking not only lubricates the surface of the eye but also moisturizes it. Each eye has a lacrimal gland that stores the fluid, tears. When we blink, this gland acts, releasing some fluid. This process protects our eyes from drying out. You could say that we cry every time we blink.
Most people blink every 2 to 10 seconds. In one study, people blinked about 10 times a minute. When they focused their gaze on an object (such as reading, sewing, or looking at a computer screen), the blink rate decreased to about 3-4 times per minute.
Therefore, many people experience dry, tired eyes when reading or working on a computer.
People blink to protect their eyes from foreign particles
The next answer “Why do people blink” is to protect the eyes.Blinking also helps protect the eyes from foreign objects such as dust, dirt and sand. Also, eyelashes contribute to this protection. They are not just for looks.
Eyelashes are needed to trap dust particles that can get into your eyes. In a rainy or dusty storm, the eyelids automatically close, and the lashes prevent foreign particles from getting into the eyes. Your eyebrows also help prevent sweat or rain from getting into your eyes.
Have you noticed that camels have some of the most beautiful lashes in the animal kingdom? This is no coincidence! They need such long, curly lashes to protect their eyes from sandstorms.
Humans blink to rest.
A group of scientists from Japan, answering the question of why people blink, argue that the brief closure of the eyes may actually help us gather our thoughts and focus on the world. The researchers came up with the hypothesis after noticing an interesting fact. The exact moments when we blink are actually not random.
Although the research seems spontaneous, it showed that people blink at predictable moments. For those who read, blinking often occurs after each sentence is finished, while for someone listening to speech, it often occurs when the speaker pauses between utterances. A group of people who are all watching the same video also blink when the action in the video is briefly delayed.
As a result, the researchers guessed we can subconsciously use blinking as a sort of mental resting point to briefly turn off our vision and allow us to focus our attention.
So why does a person blink? We blink not just to moisten our eyes. Blinking can provide a momentary island of inner calm in the ocean of visual stimuli that define our lives.