Did you know you can do blinking exercises to help prevent dry eyes? Yes, even your eyelids need exercising!
Your eyelid glands are crucial to keeping your eyes well-lubricated with the proper tear film. Keeping them fit and healthy means working them regularly and properly to avoid them drying out.
Why Are Blinking Exercises Important?
Think of your muscles. When you don’t use them, they atrophy or stop being able to perform at peak performance. Similarly, if you don’t work your glands regularly, they atrophy and dry up. They stop producing the healthy tear film that keeps your eyes happy.
Doing blinking exercises are especially important if you work at a computer all day or spend a lot of time starting at any digital device. This is because we blink not just less, but also less completely when working on a digital device.
What Is a Complete Blink?
A complete, or proper, blink is one in which the upper eyelid meets the lower eyelid. This physical connection is what causes the glands to be “squeezed” and the tear film released. Incomplete blinking may temporarily relieve the eye from dryness, but fails to nourish the eye. Over time, this can cause redness, dryness, itchiness, and ultimately gland dysfunction and Dry Eye Disease.
Lucky for us, blinking exercises are simple to perform and can be performed anywhere at anytime. We recommend the 20-20-20 rule.
20-20-20 Rule for Blinking
When you’re at your device, take a break every 20 minutes.
Gaze 20 feet in front of you, beyond your device.
Perform the blinking exercises below for 20 seconds.
Our Favorite Blinking Exercises
To help “flex” the muscles and glands that play a role in giving us a healthy tear film, we need to work our glands and muscles. We use the simple phrase:
Close – Pause – Pause – Squeeze – Open – Relax
Make Blinking a Habit
It’s important to remember that thereOther times that you may decrease your blink rate include driving, reading, watching TV, working at your desk, or any concentrated visual task.
If you are having difficulty consciously incorporating the blinking exercises into your daily schedule, there are a few things you can do:
- You can set a timer on your phone for ever 20 minutes, especially when working on your computer
- You can pair it with another daily routine such brushing your teeth, answering phone calls, commuting, sending emails, drinking sips of water, getting dressed, etc.
- You can have a blink accountability partner! That means you hold each there accountable to take these blinking breaks just like you may have a workout buddy to keep you accountable to go to the gym.
If you have kids, this can be a fun and healthy game and one that builds a life-long practice of taking care of their eyes and preventing Dry Eye Disease from forming prematurely.
And just like that we can make healthy blinking a habit!