You need to blink more.

September 30, 2019


Lloyd is at a movie with Samith, so I need to write this post while he’s out of the house because he’s sick of me talking about it.

The last time I went to the eye doctor I was going to mention that my eyes were very dry. (I sleep with my eyes open and my eyes are either stuck open or stuck shut depending on how I wake up.) The technician actually noticed my eyes were pretty bad before I mentioned it, so we got to go use the cool measuring machine (that kind of looks like a giant Apple earbud). The diagnosis is that I have trouble with my Meibomian* glands, something that I can neither say nor spell without help.

You have these glands in your upper and lower eyelids and they make oil. Your eyeball has three layers of liquid on it. First a mucus layer, then a layer of tears, and then the oil layer. Every time you blink you slightly squeeze those oil glands together and then spread a thin layer of lipids across the surface of your eye. This keeps your tears from drying out.

Here’s the hitch: lots of people do a lazy blink which is only about a 3/4 blink. That’s not good – you’re not spreading any oil. Also, if you do a lot of close-up work like reading a book, looking at a tablet or computer screen, your blink rate, which is supposed to be 22 blinks per minute, goes down to about six. Six! So blink blink a whole bunch. Blink blink some more. Apparently there’s an app for it to remind you.

So drink lots of water, visit your eye doctor if you feel weird and blink more than you think you should. Over time your myelin glands can start to atrophy. About half of mine had started to. You can’t rebuild them but you can work on keeping what you have. (If you Google that, prepare to be grossed out.)

End of public service message. Gotta run – I think Lloyd just came back.

About Lauren

Lauren Sommerer is a preschool teacher who likes to build prototypes, grow cats, cook things once, save money, reduce, reuse and recycle.

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4 Responses to “You need to blink more.”

  1. Debbie Said on:

    My vision is my most prized possession! I do drink lots of water and i guess blink enough? Thank you for making me really notice this now….i just blinked….. and again…. and again….. and…should i count and keep a log? I don’t think i would get anything else done? Blink…. thank you for pointing out! If i had your number i could keep you updated….. you blink! Wink!


  2. Kristi Said on:


    As I read your post, I kept thinking about Dr. Beck. That (incredible) man did a whole lot of blinking.



  3. Gretchen Said on:

    Perhaps you need to get a piece of gold implanted in your eyelid. Let me explain how I know about such a thing:
    Once upon a time we were on an airplane. Soon after getting to our seats the man sitting next to my son explained that he had trouble blinking so a piece of gold was implanted so that his eyelid would be heavier. (The details of what led to this comment are unclear in my mind. I thought it was seemingly random. My son says he noticed a bulge and with all the manners of a 2nd grader asked him what was wrong with his eye.)
    Weirdly, he let us all touch it. Quite a conversation piece.


    • Lauren Said on:

      That is simultaneously the most horrifying and also amazing thing I have ever heard! I wouldn’t wait for people to ask -- it would be how I introduced myself! “Hi! I’m Lauren. I have gold in my eyelid!”


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