Is Blinking A Real Eye Exercise?
By Mike Callahan
You may not think of blinking as an eye exercise because we do it naturally and involuntarily, but blinking is a very vital & important process of normal & healthy eye function.
The Merriam-Webster official definition is “to close and open the eyes involuntarily”.
Involuntarily is the problem for most of us, because we fall into patterns that prevent us from blinking at a natural rate, mostly due to the fact that we are constantly staring at some sort of electronic device (iPad, iPhone, computer screen, fancy HD 3D TV’s, & any number of tablets & smart phones).
Now you may be wondering: Why is this guy writing about this? & why am I reading this?
Well the answer is simple.
Blinking is an integral function of the eye. Blinking eyes spreads tears across the surface of the eye. And when we slow down the rate we prevent our body’s natural function of moisturizing the eye and removing potentially irritating substances from the surface. These substances are usually fallen eye lashes that are microscopically laced with particles from the air around us. These dirty lashes can aggravate the cornea & the conjunctiva.
Now raise your hand if you want to irritate your conjunctiva? … No hands up, that’s what I thought.
So blinking can actually keep your eyes feeling fresh & relaxed. So how can we turn blinking into an exercise if we already do it involuntarily? Well remember that we are constantly straining the eye because of today’s technologies being in constant eye shot. So because of this we don’t blink at a normal rate. So here is a simple exercise to replace those lost blinking opportunities.
Okay, so here are some eye exercises to improve vision. For the next 2 to 3 minutes I want you to blink one time every 3 to 4 seconds. Now remember, you have to do this for 2 to 3 minutes. So if you find it difficult to keep track of the time, set an egg timer or maybe even one of those fancy stop watch apps you have on your smart phone. After 2 to 3 minutes when you complete the exercise take a mental note of how your eyes fell. Do they feel strained? Are they more relaxed?
Okay, now we’re going to do the exact opposite. For the next 2 to 3 minutes I want you to only blink your eyes once every 30 seconds. Again, use your stop watch if necessary. At the end of the 3 minutes do you feel any different?
Why Blinking is an Important Eye Exercise
So what’s the point of all of this?
When blinking, your eyes go into brief periods of darkness. This darkness helps to keep your eyes fresh by eliminating previous information & wiping the slate clean so your brain can now accept the new information it’s about to see.
If you can consciously think to blink, then do it. If you can’t, at least take breaks. Set reminders that alert you to taking these all important breaks. Breaking up screen time & work sessions into blocks of time no greater than 50 minutes can be beneficial. Then take a break for about 10 minutes.
Not only take a break for your eyes but for your mind & body. Get up and move a little, you’ll be surprised at how this can increase your productivity. And it is always a good idea to keep around some eye drops, not the ones you used when trying to hide smoking pot from your parents, but ones that give great moisture to the eyes. I personally use Bausch + Lomb Advanced Eye Relief Dry Eye Rejuvenation.
Check out this page for more eye exercises, remember that keeping up on these eye muscle exercises as well as blinking & eye strengthening exercises will help reduce strained eye muscles.