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It is difficult for parents with little medical knowledge to identify health issues their child may be facing. While the symptoms of fever and cough are easily noticeable, the same cannot be said for excessive blinking.
Blinking is how our eyes protect themselves from the strain. A child blinks 3 – 17 times per minute on an average. Anything beyond this is considered excessive blinking and could be a sign of discomfort or an eye problem. Excessive blinking can be due to a range of reasons – anything from a facial tic to extreme dryness in the eyes.
Your child may be blinking excessively due to:
Facial tics can cause excessive blinking. Tics are muscle spasms that affect the muscles in and around the eyes. Short-tempered children are prone to facial tics. If this is the case, talk to a child psychologist about your child’s behaviour.
A common reason for excessive blinking is near-sightedness. Visit an eye specialist and get your child’s eye checked.
If your child is blinking too much, has watery eyes or excessive discharge around the eyes, it could be an allergy.
When your child suffers from extremely dry eyes, she may develop excessive blinking and burning/itchy eyes. Make sure your child doesn’t rub her eyes if this is the case. Doctors usually prescribe teardrops or hydrating eye drops to help ease the irritation.
Eye strain can cause excessive blinking. Reading in low light, too much time spent looking at a screen and lack of sleep can cause strain.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a psychological condition that affects many children but often goes undiagnosed. This psychological condition can also cause excessive blinking or facial tics.
Blepharitis is a bacterial infection in the eyelids. It is one of the causes of excessive blinking in children.
Most conditions that lead to excessive blinking can be diagnosed through a routine physical examination. If the reason is an imbalance of power, your child may need glasses. In case it’s a psychological issue, your child may need to visit a therapist for regular sessions.
There are a number of ways to treat excessive blinking eyes in children. Based on the diagnosis, the different treatment options include:
- Hydrating and anti-inflammatory eye drops
- Psychological therapy
For more treatment plans and information, contact an ophthalmologist.
Here are some tips you should consider:
Protect Her Eyes
Using protective eyewear will guard your child’s eyes against dust, sunlight and other irritants.
Prevent Dry Eyes
Foods containing Omega-3 fatty acids help to prevent dryness in the eyes by stimulating the tear glands and reducing inflammation.
Help your child manage academic stress with activities like meditation, relaxation techniques and yoga.
Adopt a Healthy Diet and Lifestyle
Make your child eat nutritious food, and drink plenty of water. This will help to maintain her eye health.
Keep Her Eyes Clean
Tell your child to wash her eyes frequently with clean water, especially when she has come from outside.
Pay Attention to the Lighting
Ensure your child always reads, watches TV or works on a computer in a well-lighted room.
Let Her Get Adequate Rest
Ensure your child sleeps for 8-10 hours a day.
Monitor Her Screen Time
Monitor the time your child spends watching TV or your mobile.
Allow Her to Play
Make sure she gets some exercise.
What Are the Warning Signs?
Excessive blinking in children is not fatal. If you spot these signs, take your child to a doctor immediately:
- Your child rubs her eyes frequently.
- She struggles to open her eyes after waking up in the morning.
- She squints her eyes to read something within arm’s length.
- Her eyes are often red.
- Your child blinks more than 17 times per minute.
- Your child loses her temper frequently.
- She tends to panic and can’t sit still if everything in the room isn’t organised.
Children should undergo an eye exam every 3-4 months. If your child wears glasses, visit your eye specialist and get a new pair every 3 months.
Don’t panic if you notice excessive blinking in your child. Whether it’s mild or severe, follow your paediatrician’s instructions and monitor your child closely for changes. You should neither self-medicate nor attempt to diagnose her by yourself. Don’t miss the doctor’s appointments and follow their instructions to the T.
Also Read: Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) in Babies & Kids