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It can be difficult for a parent with no medical knowledge to identify if something is wrong with their child. The signs can be very clear like a fever or a cough or barely noticeable signs like a minor tick or excessive blinking. It is important for parents to watch out for the small unnoticeable signs.
All humans blink; this is the eye’s way of protecting itself from any strain, blinking is when the muscles in your eyes relax. This causes the eyelids to close for a second and open up again. On average, a child can blink anywhere between 3 to 17 times per minute. Anything beyond this is considered excessive blinking and could be a sign of discomfort or a problem with your child’s eye. Excessive blinking can be due to a range of reasons – from a facial tic to extreme dryness in the eyes.
There are a number of reasons why your child maybe blinking excessively. Some of these are:
- Tics – Facial tics can cause excessive blinking, these tics are technically muscle spasms that can affect the muscles that are in and around the eyes. Commonly these tics are physical but some extreme psychological stress can cause this as well. Excessive anger is another reason why your child may develop a facial tic that causes excessive blinking. It is recommended you talk to a child psychologist if your doctor says there is no physical reason for this.
- Near-sightedness – One of the most common reasons for your child’s excessive blinking is near-sightedness. Visit your closest specialist and have your child’s eye checked. They may require glasses.
- Allergies – Like in adults, if your child is blinking too much and has watery eyes or excessive discharge around the eyes, this could be due to an allergy.
- Dryness – Another common reason for excessive blinking is extreme dryness of the eyes, this condition can cause a child not only to blink but may cause burning sensations or an itch in the eye. Make sure your child doesn’t rub their eyes. Doctors will usually prescribe teardrops or hydrating eye drops to help ease the irritation.
- Strain – A lot of stress on the eyes can cause excessive blinking, this can be due to reading with bad lighting, too much time on screens or even lack of sleep.
- OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a psychological condition that a lot of children have that often goes undiagnosed. If the OCD is bad enough, it could cause severe blinking or other facial tics.
- Anger – Emotional and psychological instability can cause numerous facial tics. One of the most common tics associated with extreme anger is excessive blinking, this anger usually indicates the need for therapy. It is recommended that you talk to a child psychologist at the earliest if your child shows severe anger issues.
- Blepharitis – This is an infection caused due to dandruff or bad bacteria in the eyes, it is extremely common and is known to be a reason for excessive blinking in your child.
Most conditions that lead to excessive blinking can be identified through a routine physical examination by doctors, if the reason is due to an imbalance of power in your child’s eye, they may need to have an eye exam done. In cases of psychological issues, your child may need to visit a therapist and the right diagnosis could take a few sessions.
There are a number of ways to treat excessive blinking eyes in children. Based on the diagnosis, some include:
- Hydrating eye drops
- Anti-inflammatory eye drops
- Antibiotic eye drops
- Psychological therapy
For more treatment plans and information contact your primary healthcare physician.
Some Best Ways to Stop Children Blinking Excessively
Some of the best ways to stop children from blinking excessively would be by taking preventive measures and completing the course of medication prescribed to you. In addition, some measures you may consider are:
- Protecting eyes: Using protective eyewear guards the eyes from dust, sunlight and other irritants
- Preventing dry eyes: Omega 3 fatty acids help prevent dryness in the eyes by stimulating the tear glands and reducing inflammation
- Helping manage stress: Help your child manage stress with activities like meditation, relaxation techniques and yoga to stop excessive blinking
- Ensuring a healthy diet and lifestyle: Eating nutrition-rich food, drinking plenty of water, and adopting a healthy lifestyle helps maintain healthy eyes and reduce excessive blinking
- Cleaning and nourishing eyes: Washing eyes frequently with clean water and consuming vitamins and minerals like Zinc and Vitamin A, either through supplements or through food sources like bananas and strawberries is sure to help reduce excessive blinking.
There are numerous ways to prevent constant blinking in children, these include:
- Ensuring your child always reads and watches TV or works on a computer in a room with plenty of light.
- Ensuring your child sleeps the required 8-10 hours
- Monitoring their screen time and limiting it
- Making sure they get some exercise
- If required, giving them vitamin supplements
For more preventive methods and techniques, consult your doctor and inquire about eye care for your child.
When You Should Worry
It is important to remember, excessive eye blinking in children is not a sign of anything fatal or irreparable. Here are signs that indicate that you should visit your doctor immediately:
- Your child rubs their eyes frequently
- Your child struggles to open their eyes after waking up in the morning
- Your child squints their eyes to read something close by
- One or both of your child’s eyes are red regularly
- They blink in excess of 17 times per minute on a regular basis
- They get angry frequently and the anger is far more excessive than the situation demands
- They panic or can’t sit still if everything in the room is not organized or set to their exact requirements, this indicates OCD
In case of any doubts, do visit your doctor to be on the safer side. It is also recommended that your child has an eye exam every 3-4 months. In case your child has power, ensure you get the power checked every 3 months and update your child’s glasses accordingly.
It is extremely important to remember not to panic when noticing symptoms like excessive blinking in children. The reason behind it could be a small one or it could be something serious but the essential thing to keep in mind is that you follow your primary health care physician’s instructions and monitor your child closely for changes. Remember, never self-medicate your child, and don’t attempt to diagnose them by yourself. It is highly recommended that you talk to your doctor and follow through with every appointment and listen to all their instructions. Excessive blinking is not a sign of any fatal condition and being aware of the medication you use, and consulting the doctor in case of allergic reactions or discomfort you notice in your child is sure to remedy the issue in time.
Also Read: Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) in Babies & Kids