Posts tagged ‘blink’

Birth Control Makes Women Blink More

Blinking is a critical function for most animals. Few of us give it much thought, however, since blinking is a spontaneous action that we have little control over—similar to breathing. Although science has revealed many of the mechanisms behind blinking, there are still some mysteries and odd inconsistencies.

eyeball

The act of blinking, which is largely controlled by the central nervous system, keeps eyes moist and free of irritants such as dust and dirt. Blinking can also take the form of a reflex response to protect the eyes from an approaching object. Even though blinking technically results in a loss of vision for a few seconds, it’s not noticeable. This is because the brain fills in the gaps—it “remembers” the scene (this is also how the brain accounts for blind spots!). In a recent study, scientists found that the brain has a second trick for reducing visual disruptions. When you blink, your eyes reposition to maintain focus on what you were looking at. The brain does this by tracking the movements of both the person and any objects that were in view. In the experiment, participants stared at a dot that slowly moved. The movement wasn’t dramatic enough for the participants to notice but the brain took note, repositioning their eyeballs to follow the dot every time they blinked. The researchers explained that this function is necessary to stabilize our vision, preventing a shaky camera effect. (more…)

March 25, 2017 at 5:14 pm Leave a comment

Babies Blink Less Than Adults

By Kaye Nemec

I was rocking my son, trying to get him to sleep, staring at his wide-eyes as he stared back at me. I noticed that he rarely blinked and each time I blinked, I wondered if we had done it at the same time and I just missed him doing it. But, that type of coincidence can’t possibly happen every time I blink for 20 minutes, so I did some research.

It turns out, babies blink much less often than adults. Studies have found that babies, on average, blink less than twice per minute while adults blink, on average, 10 to 15 times per minute.

There are a couple of theories about why babies blink less than adults. One theory is that, because babies’ eyes are so much smaller, there is a much smaller opening through which things like dust, dirt and debris can pass. If fewer foreign particles enter the eye, less blinking and tears are needed to wash it away.

Another suggests that the more sleep a person gets, the less blinking is required. Since babies may have their eyes shut for as much as 15 hours per day, they are not as prone to dry eyes as adults, who often get 6 to 8 hours of sleep per day. When eyes are dry, blinking moisturizes them, so if babies don’t have dry eyes, there is no need to blink as often.

It is also interesting that babies do not produce tears until around the age of one month, when their tear ducts have developed. Even after that one month milestone, babies may continue to cry without tears for awhile. During the first few months, babies tend to save their tears for times when they are especially adamant about what they want or when they are in pain. So, if the purpose of blinking is to clear the eye of debris and lubricate it with tears, there is really no need for a baby to blink until they begin producing that cleansing agent.

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Sources: New York Times, The Register, Parenting

Photo: bbaunach (cc)

November 17, 2010 at 1:00 am 3 comments


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