Why do some people blink more than others?

17 August 2008

Question

Why do some people blink more than others?

Answer

Most people blink once every two-to-ten seconds. Blinking can be triggered by dust or pollen, if you get hay fever in the summer like I do. It's mainly controlled by nervous impulses from the brain. Everyone has a sort of blinking pacemaker in their brain and everyone's is different. Everyone's is set slightly differently. This area of the brain is known as the chordate nucleus and it controls your blinking by sending impulses down the nervous system into the muscles around your eyelids. There are of course other things that can affect your blinking like fatigue and also some diseases like Parkinson's and nerve disorders. What's quite interesting is that when we blink we don't actually notice that we're blinking because our brains filter out the signal. It's the same as when you move your eyes around a room. Your brain cuts out the signal of when your eyes are moving so that you don't get confused and feel like the world is spinning. It's called corollary discharge.

I suppose if you blink a lot it's probably because your brain makes it that way or you need to get more sleep.

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