Excessive Eye Blinking: Causes, Treatment and Preventive Measures

Blinking is a typical and vital physiological process that moisturises and shields the eyes from allergens. When you reach adolescence, your blink rate increases to 14–17 times per minute on average, remaining at that level for the rest of your life. In contrast, children and babies blink twice per minute on average.

When you speak, when you’re nervous, or when you’re hurt, you blink more. You blink less when reading or when you anticipate danger. On the other hand, frequent or excessive eye blinking could indicate an underlying issue.

Here are the significant causes:

Vitamin D and B-12 Deficiency: Vitamin B-12 is crucial for maintaining healthy nerve cells and the production of DNA and RNA. B-12 deficiency can lead to neurological issues that may indirectly affect the eyes. For example, an imperfection in B-12 can cause vision problems due to optic neuropathy, a damaged optic nerve, leading to symptoms like blurred vision or vision loss and excessive eye blinking. Vitamin D has been linked to a reduced risk of macular degeneration, reduces inflammation, and supports immune function, which could indirectly affect eye comfort and health.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disorder that primarily affects joints but can also have systemic effects, impacting various organs and bodily functions.

The eye conditions associated with RA can lead to excessive eye blinking as an involuntary response to discomfort, an attempt to lubricate the eyes during dryness, or as a protective reflex against light sensitivity. Extreme eye winking in this context would be a symptom or side effect of the underlying eye conditions related to RA.

Blepharospasm: Blepharospasm is a neurological condition that causes excessive blinking or eyelid twitching. Muscle contractions cause abnormal movements and postures in dystonia, which includes this disease. In blepharospasm, involuntary muscular contractions damage the blinking orbicularis oculi. Blepharospasm’s frequent blinking and twitching can make reading, driving, and other visual tasks difficult.

Tics and Tourette Syndrome: Tourette Syndrome (TS)-associated tics can cause eye blinking and other physical and vocal tics. Tics are quick, nonrhythmic, repeated movements or vocalisations. Tourette syndrome is a more specialised tic disease with several physical and vocal tics, which may not necessarily co-occur.

Eye Allergies and Pollution: Eye allergies like conjunctivitis and pollution are significant environmental factors that can adversely affect eye health, potentially leading to symptoms such as excessive eye blinking. Both can irritate the eyes and trigger allergic reactions, causing discomfort that may increase blinking frequency as a natural protective and reflex action.

Mental and Physical Health Issues: Physical and mental health difficulties can cause excessive eye blinking. High stress and anxiety can cause eye blinking and other symptoms. Pressure can enhance nervous system stimulation and fight or flight response blink rates. Eye strain and fatigue from prolonged screen use, reading, or other focused activities might cause increased blinking to moisten and reduce discomfort.

Read our blog on The causes, symptoms, treatment, and preventative measures for ocular dryness.

Preventive Measures and Treatment for Excessive Eye Blinking

Avoid Steroids: Refraining from using steroid eye drops for conjunctivitis is crucial to reduce the risk of glaucoma and cataracts. Choose safe, non-steroid eye drops prescribed by a medical professional instead. To avoid excessive eye blinking and maintain optimal eye health, speak with a healthcare physician about non-steroid eye drops suited for your particular condition.

Use warm compressors: Apply warm compressors to the infected or affected eyes. Applying warm compresses to the affected eyes can provide soothing relief. Warm compresses help improve blood circulation, relax eye muscles, and alleviate discomfort. A warm, damp cloth placed over closed eyes for a few minutes can reduce excessive eye blinking caused by eye irritation. It also soothes the eyes.

Refrain from eye rubbing: Avoiding eye rubbing prevents excessive blinking and maintains eye health. Rubbing your eyes, especially with unwashed hands, can introduce dirt, allergies, and hazardous bacteria, causing irritation and discomfort. Avoid rubbing your eyes and using artificial tears, or see a doctor for the correct diagnosis and treatment of any eye disorders causing excessive vision blinking.

Clean face with closed eyes: Keeping your eyes closed when washing your face is a simple yet efficient way to safeguard your eyes. Closing your eyes during this practice reduces excessive blinking by limiting irritating contact. This simple but essential action enhances eye hygiene and comfort, improving eye health.

Avoiding Irritants: Preventing excessive eye blinking and preserving eye comfort requires shielding your eyes from irritants like smoking and pollution. Avoiding exposure by staying indoors on polluted days and using air purifiers can reduce irritant levels.

Restrict Screen Time: By limiting screen exposure, taking frequent breaks, and adopting appropriate screen ergonomics, people can significantly lower their risk of eye fatigue and prevent excessive eye blinking. This proactive approach encourages a better digital lifestyle, which helps not only eye health but overall well-being.

Use recommended eyewear: Wearing prescribed eyeglasses or contact lenses is a simple and effective technique to reduce excessive eye blinking caused by visual issues. When your vision is corrected to its best clarity, your eyes become less strained, minimising the need for reflexive blinking.

Watch Full Video here: How to Manage Excess Eye Blinking Dr Samina F Zamindar