Dry Eye Blinking Exercises
Blinking is an important process. It cleans the ocular surface of debris and spreads fresh tears over the ocular surface, supplying the ocular surface with nutrients and oils. A quality tear film prevents infection, ocular surface dehydration, and sharpens the image received at the retina.
Failure to blink completely and regularly will result in an unstable tear film. Maintaining too short a contact time with the cornea can lead to corneal surface breakdown and dry eye symptoms. If you aren't blinking fully or often enough then oil is not being expressed from the Meibomian glands. This oil is necessary to prevent your tears from drying too quickly. In patients with evaporative dry eye, blinking exercises can help decrease partial blinking and improve meibomian gland function by training the lids to be stronger, and the brain to do a full blink. Correcting partial blinking is an essential part of the treatment regieme of evaporative dry eye therapy. Recent studies have proven that you can improve the function of the muscles involved in blinking; similar to any muscle exercise - use it or lose it!
It is however relevant to consider that regardless of your blink quality and rate, if the meibomian and lacrimal glands are dysfunctional and not secreting, then very limited improvement in your dry eye symptoms will be obtained.
Here are some useful exercises to incorporate into your daily routine to help reduce partial blinking, increase the strength of your lids, and reduce evaporative dry eye symptoms.
Try to do these exercises a few times per hour throughout the day.