Frequent Blinking: What causes excessive blinking of eyes & Treatment


Blinking is an important function of the eye. Your eyes need the moisture from your tears to be lubricated and cleaned. Every time you blink, the insides of your eye lids pass over your eyes, spreading a new supply of tears over their surface. This is why you will blink spontaneously every 4 to 5 seconds. Sound like too much to you? It’s actually quite normal and barely noticeable at that rate.

However, blinking too often – like almost every second or more – is not all that normal. People afflicted by it do not even notice that they are blinking more than usual. It’s usually the people around them who will realize it first. The frequent blinking normally affects both eyes but it can affect just one eye as well. Let’s take a closer look at the causes of frequent blinking and what can be done to treat it.

Causes of Frequent Blinking

Frequent blinkingThere may be several reasons for frequent blinking ranging from physical problems to psychological ones.

  • An obvious cause of frequent blinking is that there’s something stuck in the eye. Smoke, dust, particulates from general everyday pollution could all enter the eye and just latch on. If you’ve ever had something stuck in your eye then you know how hard it is to get it out. The eyes cannot afford to have a foreign body on their surface as they are very delicate and risk getting scratched or damaged. Their natural defense is to go into overdrive with the blinking in the hope that the excessive tears flood out the particle.
  • Frequent blinking may simply be a reaction to dry eye syndrome. As the name suggests, the condition causes the eyes to get dry because they are not getting enough tears for whatever reason. The drier the eyes get, the more uncomfortable they feel. Blinking is a natural reflex to try to relieve the discomfort in an attempt to bring in more tears through the backs of the eye lids.
  • It can also be caused by psychological issues. Stress, anxiety and fatigue often result in the body behaving in unpredictable ways. Frequent blinking is one of them. It is a coping mechanism that we unconsciously adopt to help us deal with the mental trials of whatever it is we are facing.
  • In a related note, a disorder of the nervous system can sometimes lead to frequent blinking. The reflex is totally involuntary.
  • The problem may also be because of Tourette’s syndrome. This is a disorder that affects young children, causing them to indulge in repetitive behavior of some sort which is, like the above, involuntary. Some kids will say a particular word over and over every few seconds, others will do something more physical like make a hand gesture or blink.
  • A genuine vision problem may be causing the frequent blinking. This is usually true in the case of young children who are unable to tell the difference between clear and unclear vision. So if they cannot see properly, they may start to blink too often as they try to focus.
  • Allergies can cause frequent blinking.
  • Wearing dirty contact lenses will definitely get you blinking rapidly.
  • Epileptics will sometimes suffer from frequent blinking in reaction to certain triggers. The blinking may be a sign that the person is suffering from a seizure.
  • People affected by Parkinson’s disease have been known to blink excessively too.

Contrary to a popular misconception, frequent blinking has nothing to do with neurological problems.

Treatment for Frequent Blinking

Blinking too much is not going to cause a health problem. Usually, if you just leave it alone it will disappear on its own. However, if frequent blinking occurs for a long period of time or recurs over and over then the underlying cause will be determined and treated. For example, if frequent blinking is caused by Tourette’s syndrome or a nervous system disorder, then medication can help although it is not really necessary as the problem generally takes care of itself. If it is caused by stress, steps should be taken to reduce stress because although the blinking won’t kill you the stress definitely will in the long run. Sometimes, eye drops can help – your eye may be troubled by a foreign particle that you cannot feel but which is there nevertheless. The eye drops can help to flush it out.

If the problem lasts too long, see a doctor and get a checkup. Frequent blinking in little children especially should not be ignored.