Eye blinking - we do it 15000 times every day. But why is it so necessary and what can blinking reveal about your brain?
Do you know that yesterday you did something 15,000 times that you probably weren’t even aware of? There, you’ve just done it again. Try not doing it and you’ll only last for a few seconds. It only takes about one tenth of a second to do, but it is a function that is vital to your well being. In fact, without it, you would quickly lose what is probably your most valued of senses – your eyesight.
We’re talking here about blinking. In an instant – in fact, in the blink of an eye – this wonderful process snaps your eyelid shut and then retracts. The eyelid draws a thin film of fluid across the surface of the eye, effectively rinsing it off. It polishes the eye’s outer surface. All of this without you even noticing – pretty nifty, huh?
The eyelid itself is an amazing piece of your body. It is, in fact, a retractable ‘lens cap’, made up of the body’s thinnest skin, reinforced with tiny, fibrous strands, the eyelid slips smoothly down and up over the 10 % of the eye that is exposed to the atmosphere, with it’s dust and debris.
Blinking, however, apparently does even more than protecting our eyesight. Researchers have drawn connections between blinking and thinking. It is well established that anxiety can make you blink more. Blinking frequently is typically linked with insincerity and the telling of falsehoods. People in the media are, consequently, ‘trained’ not to blink very often to prevent any negative impressions. If, however, you are concentrating intensely, your natural rate of blinking will decrease. And when we are in danger, and our eyes are darting around us, our rate of blinking drastically diminishes.
According to The Medical Post of Canada, research suggests that “each blink may occur at the crucial instant in which we stop seeing and start thinking.” Studies showed that a person memorizing something will probably blink right after scanning the information he wants to store. “The brain orders a blink when it has enough information to make a good decision”, says the Post, adding, “Experiments indicate that blinking serves as a kind of mental punctuation.”
So, next time you hear someone comparing the eye, complete with it’s amazing blinking process, to a fully automatic, three dimensional, self focusing, continuously filming, full color, motion picture camera, tell them to get real. It’s far more than that!