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Excessive Eye Blinking may be a Disorder

Eye blinking is a natural physiological function.  Forceful closure of the eyelid causes a blink. This is an amazing semi-automatic function of the body which offers an individual various benefits. It not only wards off the irritants from entering the eye but also helps in lubrication of the eye by spreading the tears in the eyes which otherwise may go dry if they are kept open for a long. Blinking also protects the eyes from bright light.

How does blinking happen? 

It is not the irritation in the eye that causes blinking always. While external stimuli do contribute, physiologically, eye blinking is controlled by a blinking center of the globus pallidus of the lenticular nucleus which is a body of nerve cells in between the base and outer surface of the brain.

Blinking in adults is more compared to an infant which increases gradually when child reaches adolescence. While for infants it is 2-3 times per minute, it increases to 14-17 times per minute in adolescence thereby remaining the same throughout the life.

Why do some people blink too much?

Blinking at a normal average rate is fine. But we have seen people who have blinking issues. Leaving aside the scenario when people blink a lot while thinking or in stress, let us know about the physical ailment that is responsible for excessive blinking and how serious it is. 

Abnormal contraction of the eye lid muscles is called blepharospasm. It is a bilateral condition and a kind of focal dystonia leading to irregular closure of the eyelids. Essentially it is a muscular disorder that causes involuntary spasms of the muscles around eye. Usually symptoms initiate with mild spasms which over the time lead to forceful and uncontrolled blinking of the eyelids which can result in impairment of vision. Excessive blinking or twitching may result in making daily task like driving, reading etc. difficult for the person. In profound cases, it may lead to a situation where it becomes difficult to open the eyes temporarily.

What are the symptoms of Blepharospasm?

  • Frequent eye movements
  • Pain in eyes accompanied with soreness
  • Irritation in eyelids or discomfort
  • More blinking than normal
  • Either dry or watery eyes
  • Sensitivity to light

Causes of Blepharospasm

The underlying root cause of blepharospasm is abnormal brain function in muscle controlling part of your brain.  While doctors are not yet certain regarding the reasons for this abnormality, it has been seen that sometimes symptoms occur due to stress or being excessively tired. Neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease could also be a reason for the same. 

It is always a wise idea to visit a doctor to consult him for your symptoms as early as they start. The involuntary twitching becomes worse over time. Watch out for your symptoms properly. Is it due to bodily tics or conditions like stress etc. that you face such eyelid contractions or is it something out of your control. Irrespective, how severe it is do not delay starting with a treatment.