“It happened in the blink of an eye” is a common expression that comes from the automatic action of rapidly opening and closing the eyelids. On average humans blink 15 to 20 times per minute. Blinking cannot be controlled; it is an involuntary movement.
1/6 of the human eye is exposed to elements outside of the body. The eye needs a smooth, clean surface for light to properly focus.
The main function of blinking is to cleanse and moisten the eye. Each time the eyelids close, a salty secretion from the tear glands runs over the surface of the eye, flushing away debris, and lubricating the exposed part of the eyeball.
If you don’t blink, the lack of oxygen can lead to corneal swelling, your eyes won’t get the nutrients they need to stay healthy, and your eyes can dry out because the tear film is not being replenished.
Some types of eye irritants will cause someone to blink more often. Some of these irritants include:
• Chemical vapors
• Foreign objects
• Dry eye
• Corneal, abrasion, or other eye injuries
• Neurological conditions
Studies have shown that when a person’s brain is overloaded, it will cause blinking to be more frequent. This overload occurs when the brain struggles to interpret, prioritize or otherwise process inputs. It then communicates to the body that it is time to escape these inputs. Then manifests itself as excessive blinking.