Eyes are wonderful organs that connect our body and mind with the external world. Eyes picturize everything so we are able to see things as they are around us.
And a very natural, involuntary action involved with eyes is blinking. We humans blink a lot throughout the day.
To be very precise, in one minute we blink about 15-20 times. This means we blink about 1200 times in an hour and about 28,800 times in a day.
This also means that in our waking hours, we spend 10% of the time with our eyes closed.
Funny and interesting, right?
So let’s see why we blink in the first place. Why should we close our eyes when we are awake?
And why should that amount to a whopping 10% of the time keep our eyes closed, while we are awake?
Well blinking is so important to protect our eyes. Blinking is a very brief process, it lasts only a tenth of a second.
We even have sayings that imply this “in the blink of an eye”.
But during this very brief time, blinking helps clear dust from the eyes. Even though we are unable to feel or see in the mirror, there are minute dust particles spread over the eye balls.
If these are not cleared then and there, our eyes could be damaged. And our vision could also be affected.
Apart from clearing dust, blinking also prevents the eyes from drying out.
The eyelids spread oil and other mucous secretions over the eyeballs and hence keep them from drying out.
Apart from these two reasons, we also blink when we encounter any potential dangers for the eyes, like when dust or bright light hit the eyes.
In addition, we blink to take a momentary rest – to our eyes, but more importantly to our brain.
Both our eyes and our thoughts take a momentary break to refocus better later.
In this direction, even though blinking is kind of involuntary, we can see its association with many happenings.
For instance, when a person reads a book, he or she could be blinking at the end of each sentence.
Or if someone is listening to a speech, he or she might be blinking when the speaker pauses.
So in short, blinking helps to clean our eyes, to protect it, to take a momentary and to keep it from drying out.
Right, but why don’t we experience a blackout of vision when we blink? That’s because our brain is so smart.
Our brain cleverly ignores this momentary happening and doesn’t process the associated changes – hence our world continues to be continuous even though we interrupt a lot via blinking.
So, what will happen if we don’t blink? For one our eyes won’t be lubricated enough.
This means we will end up having eye irritation. And not blinking for a long time will even result in infection of eyes.
It is because the dust isn’t cleared off the eyeballs and that can lead to infection of the eyes.
Another important thing is that your vision will not be clear enough if you don’t blink enough.
The lubrication your eyes get when the eyelids run over them help clearing the vision as well as sharpening and brightening it.
So if you don’t blink enough, your vision could get blurry and unclear.
In recent times, with the digital things taking over, blinking is also a process that relaxes your eyes from the digital strain.
Even though we blink involuntarily without any conscious effort, if we are too focused at work, we might delay our blinks.
That’s why we end up with strained eyes, red eyes, associated with headaches when we work for long hours on our computer.
Hence it is very important, that we make a conscious effort to blink often, even if we are too focused at work!