Why Do We Blink?

why do we blinkEver wondered why do we blink? Well, blinking is an automatic action controlled by the nervous system, monitored from a specific area, which can be called “Blinking center”.

Nerves send out electric signals to facial nerve roots.

There are two types of signals:

Spontaneous and Reflex

Depending on the spontaneous requirement to keep the eyes moist and clean, or purely as a reflex action to close the eyes whenever something is going to strike the face or to provide the brain with the much needed short breaks from external stimuli.

Maybe you’ve been to the doctor’s office and they’ve hit the spot, right below your knee cap with a little rubber mallet – What happens? – Your leg kicks a little and you can’t really control that action. That is an example of a reflex.

Breathing is also a reflex. We breathe all the time without a single thought about it. Even though you can hold your breath for a while, sooner or later, you have to breathe … the same is true for blinking.

The same goes if something is going to hit your face and you’re not expecting it.

If someone tosses a ball at you when you are not quite ready, your brain will tell your eyes to close. This reflex is crucial because your eyelids help to shield your eyes, which are very delicate and really important.

If you’ve ever been outside on a windy day, you’ve probably noticed that you can’t stop squinting and blinking. Your body utilizes the blinking reflex to help keep all of the dust and dirt, which is flying with the wind, out of your eyes.

Your eyes might also water from time to time.

Our eyes produce tears even when we are not crying. Tears also play a role in protecting your eyes when we are blinking. Our eyes are always wet and they look glossy. That’s because they are covered with a very thin watery layer that is made mainly of tears. This unique layer helps to clear away little pieces of dust and other particles that can prevent our eyes from working properly.

Tears also provide moisture to your eyes, so they stay healthy and maintain their functions.

Those tears come from lacrimal glands which are just above the eye and below the eyebrow.

Still, tears aren’t just made of water.

You might already know that tears taste salty. Yes, they do contain salt, but they also contain other special substances that can help to get rid of bacteria and viruses, which can make you sick if they get into your body.

When you blink, the movement of your eyelids acts like a windshield wiper, spreading the tears made by the lacrimal glands over the surface of your eyes. The tears wash away dirt and germs after which leave your eyes true tiny holes in the corner of your eyes closest to your nose. This holes and like little drains and they lead right into your nose.

But, why doesn’t the world plunge into darkness when we blink?

This is because our brains know how to ignore the momentary blackout. If you have heard the phrase “in a blink of an eye”, then that is around 1/10 of a second. In this time the world might change, but it would still appear continuous and beautiful.


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