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Everything There Is To Know About Excessive Eye Blinking

August 24, 2023

Eye blinking is considered a normal and essential physiological function that helps keep the eyes moist and protects them from irritants. Children and babies only blink twice each minute on average, and that rises to 14 to 17 times every minute by the time you reach adolescence, and it stays at that number for the rest of your entire life.

What might cause excessive eye blinking?

When you’re speaking, anxious, or in pain, you blink more frequently. When reading or when you suspect danger, you blink less. However, excessive or involuntary eye blinking can sometimes be a sign of an underlying issue.

Below are some instances when eye blinking might be a problem:

  • Tics and Tourette syndrome: rapid, repetitive blinking or other facial tics can be associated with conditions like Tourette syndrome or other tic disorders. These tics can be involuntary and may vary in severity over time.
  • Blepharospasm: this is a condition characterized by abnormal, involuntary contractions or spasms of the muscles around the eyes. It can lead to excessive blinking and even forceful closure of the eyelids.
  • Eye irritation: excessive blinking can also occur as a response to eye irritation or discomfort. Dry eyes, foreign objects in the eye, allergies, or infections can cause the eyes to blink more frequently.
  • Stress and anxiety: stress, anxiety, and nervousness can sometimes lead to increased blinking. This might be a subconscious response to the emotional state.
  • Medication side effects: some medications, particularly those that affect the nervous system, can lead to increased blinking or other facial tics as a side effect.
  • Neurological disorders: in some cases, excessive blinking can be associated with neurological disorders or conditions that affect the brain’s control over muscle movements.
  • Fatigue: feeling tired or fatigued can lead to increased blinking as the eyes attempt to stay moist and comfortable.
  • Habitual or behavioral factors: certain habits or behaviors, such as rubbing the eyes excessively or consciously blinking more than necessary, can lead to increased blinking over time.

How are eye blinking problems diagnosed?

Eye blinking problems can be diagnosed through a combination of medical history, physical examination, and sometimes specialized tests. The diagnostic process will depend on the specific type of blinking problem and its underlying cause.

Below are some steps typically involved in diagnosing eye blinking problems:

  • Medical history: the doctor will start by discussing the patient’s medical history, including any previous eye conditions, surgeries, or relevant medical conditions. They will ask about the frequency, duration, triggers, and patterns of the blinking problem.
  • Physical examination: a comprehensive eye examination will be conducted to assess the overall eye health, vision, and eye movement. The doctor will examine the eyelids, eyelashes, and surrounding area for any signs of irritation, infection, or abnormal blinking patterns.
  • Blinking observation: the doctor will observe the patient’s blinking behavior during the examination to identify any irregularities or abnormal blinking patterns. Excessive blinking, involuntary spasms, or other unusual behaviors will be noted.
  • Specialized tests: depending on the suspected cause of the blinking problem, the doctor may recommend further tests, which can include:
    • Corneal sensitivity test: this measures the sensitivity of the cornea and can help diagnose conditions like dry eye.
    • Tear production test: measures the quantity and quality of tears to identify dry eye or other tear-related issues.
    • Neurological examination: if the blinking problem is due to a neurological condition, a neurologist may conduct specialized tests to assess nerve function and rule out neurological disorders.
    • Electromyography (EMG): EMG can be used to detect and record electrical activity in the muscles controlling eye movement and blinking. It’s useful for diagnosing conditions like blepharospasm.
    • Schirmer’s test: measures tear production by placing a small strip of filter paper under the lower eyelid. It helps diagnose dry eye syndrome.
    • Visual field test: this test assesses the full horizontal and vertical range of vision. It can help identify conditions affecting the visual pathways that might lead to abnormal blinking.
    • Blood tests: in some cases, blood tests may be ordered to check for underlying systemic conditions that could be causing the blinking problem.
  • Consultation with specialists: depending on the initial evaluation, the patient might be referred to specialists such as ophthalmologists, neurologists, or neuro-ophthalmologists for further evaluation and management.
  • Diagnosis and treatment plan: once the diagnostic tests are completed, the doctor will analyze the results and make a diagnosis based on the findings. The treatment plan will depend on the underlying cause of the blinking problem and may include medications, lifestyle changes, eye drops, therapies, or surgical interventions.

How excessive eye blinking may be treated?

The treatment for excessive eye blinking depends on the underlying cause.

Below are some approaches that can be considered:

  • Identify and address triggers: if the excessive blinking is triggered by factors such as stress, anxiety, or eye irritation, addressing these triggers can help reduce the frequency of blinking. Managing stress through relaxation techniques and ensuring proper eye hygiene can be beneficial.
  • Artificial tears: for cases where dry eyes are causing excessive blinking, using artificial tears or lubricating eye drops can help keep the eyes moist and reduce the need to blink excessively.
  • Botox injections:Botox injections are a common treatment for blepharospasm. Botox can help relax the overactive muscles around the eyes and reduce involuntary blinking. The effects of Botox injections usually last for several months, after which repeat injections may be needed.
  • Medications: in some cases, medications such as muscle relaxants or anticholinergic drugs may be prescribed to help control the involuntary muscle contractions causing excessive blinking.
  • Surgery: in severe cases that do not respond to other treatments, surgical options might be considered. Surgical procedures may involve removing some of the muscles responsible for blinking or nerve decompression surgery.
  • Behavioral therapy: behavioral therapy techniques, such as habit-reversal training, can help individuals become more aware of their blinking habits and learn strategies to reduce excessive blinking.
  • Stress management: if stress or anxiety is contributing to excessive blinking, techniques like mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises can help manage these triggers and reduce blinking episodes.
  • Biofeedback: biofeedback involves using electronic monitoring to become aware of bodily functions, such as blinking. This awareness can help individuals learn to control their blinking patterns.
  • Support groups:connecting with others who have similar conditions can provide emotional support and practical advice for managing excessive blinking.

The bottom line from Ojas – Eye Hospital in Mumbai

You must protect your eyes because they are your most important sense organ! It’s crucial to see an ophthalmologist right away if you or someone you know is experiencing excessive or involuntary eye blinking that is causing concern or discomfort. Make an appointment with Ojas – Eye Hospital in Mumbai to get your condition analyzed, identify the underlying cause, and receive the best course of treatment.


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