How often you blink can say a lot about your health

How often you blink can say a lot about your health

Did you know ? Your state of health can sometimes be reflected in something as subtle as a flutter of the eyelids. Dr Gérald Kierzek, medical director of TipsForWomens, explains to us what blinking too frequently… or too slowly can mean!

It’s an automatic movement that we do so frequently that we no longer think about it. We blink about 15 times per minute, all day long. A movement necessary to keep the eyes moist and clean the surface of the cornea. But blinking too repetitively or too little, or even changing “frequency”, can also be a sign of an underlying pathology. Dr. Gérald Kierzek, emergency physician and medical director of TipsForWomens, tells us all about this blink.

When the blinking speeds up

If you feel like you’re blinking a lot more than usual or someone points it out to you, this could indicate several more or less benign conditions, according to our expert.

Dry eye syndrome

Insufficient tear production or poor tear quality can lead to a feeling of dry eyes, which causes the eyes to blink more frequently in an attempt to obtain moisture. One of these syndromes, known as Sjögren’s syndrome, is an autoimmune disease that causes dry eyes and mouth.

Anxiety disorders

Anxiety and stress can cause an increase in blinking frequency. This may be an involuntary mechanism for relieving stress or tension.

An irritation or allergy

Exposure to irritants or allergens, such as smoke, dust, pollen or chemicals, can cause the eyes to feel uncomfortable or irritated, leading to blinking more frequently.

Nervous tics

Nervous tics are involuntary movements that can affect the eyelids and cause excessive blinking.

Eye fatigue

Spending long periods of time in front of a computer or television screen can tire the eyes, leading to more frequent blinking in response to eye strain.

When blinking slows down and becomes rare

A blink that becomes significantly shorter may be a more annoying sign that should prompt you to seek medical attention. According to our expert, blinking that becomes too slow can be linked to various disorders.

Blepharospasm

Blepharospasm is a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary spasms of the muscles around the eyes, leading to a decrease in the frequency of blinking.

A dystonia

Dystonia can also affect the eyelid muscles, leading to a reduction in blinking frequency due to abnormal muscle contractions.

Facial paralysis

Facial paralysis, often due to nerve damage or diseases such as Bell’s disease, can affect the eyelid muscles, leading to decreased blinking on the affected side.

Eye damage

Eye damage or trauma can lead to decreased blinking due to impaired eyelid muscle function.

Side effects of certain medications

Some medications may have side effects such as decreasing the frequency of blinking. It is therefore important to consult a healthcare professional if you notice changes in the frequency of your blinking.

A link with Parkinson’s disease?

Finally, according to the American Parkinson Disease Association, a slowing number of blinks in a person, reaching only one or two blinks per minute, could be linked to Parkinson’s disease. Studies have shown that the speed at which we naturally blink echoes dopamine activity in the brain. The lower our dopamine levels, the more we focus on a subject and the less we blink. But a distinctive feature of Parkinson’s disease is the loss of dopamine-producing nerve cells, which can cause this symptom.

Regardless, if you notice any change in blinking, do not hesitate to consult your healthcare professional.