Why Do I Blink So Much? Treating Excessive Blinking in Adults

Blinking is typically a healthy and necessary reflex that our eye muscles carry out automatically. Blinking helps keep foreign objects out of our eyes, protects them from harsh light, and prevents them from drying out. However, some conditions can lead to a patient blinking much more frequently than usual, interfering with daily life.

For those who rely on sight as our primary sense, when something goes wrong with our eyes can be traumatizing. So if you’re worried you might be blinking more than normal, it’s important to make an appointment with an eye doctor immediately. 

Contact your closest True Eye Expert office, and our eye care professionals will understand what’s causing your excessive blinking. But in the meantime, we can answer some of your questions if you’re wondering, “why do I blink so much?”

What is Considered Excessive Blinking?

On average, adults blink between 15 and 20 times per minute. Emotions like fear or anxiety might increase your blink rate, and it’s usually slower when we’re reading or observing something that might be a threat. 

Our blinking rate also slows when we stare at a computer screen for too long. We recommend twenty minutes on and twenty minutes off electronics to ensure our eyes don’t dry out. 

There isn’t a precise number of blinks per minute that is considered excessive. However, it’s time to seek help if the frequency of your blinking interferes with your vision, well-being, or ability to carry out your regular day-to-day life.

How Can Excessive Blinking Affect Me?

Blinking at an uncomfortable frequency for an extended period usually isn’t the result of a serious problem, but it can have many adverse effects. For example, you may become distracted and unable to focus on your work or everyday activities. 

Rapid blinking can affect your vision, making it difficult to see where you’re going. In addition, unresolved concerns over your excessive blinking could be detrimental to your mental health.

In extreme cases, rapid blinking could be an early warning sign of a serious neurological condition. For this reason and those previously mentioned, it is important to get your eyes checked by a professional as soon as possible if your blinking has become excessive.

What Are Possible Causes of Excessive Blinking?

Most causes of excessive blinking can be easily diagnosed and treated by trained eye care professionals. These common causes include foreign irritants, inflammation, eye strain, and vision problems. 

While seemingly innocuous, an eye expert should evaluate these conditions to ensure you receive the proper care and avoid long-term damage to the eye or eye area.

A small nerve cluster controls eye muscles in the brain. Therefore, your rapid blinking could potentially have a serious underlying cause, such as a neurological condition. Other noticeable symptoms would also accompany possible neurological concerns for excessive blinking.

Eye Irritants

One of the more common causes of rapid blinking in adults is a foreign object or chemical irritant in the eye. Possible culprits include: 

  • Ingrown eyelashes
  • Dust
  • Smoke
  • Pollen
  • Chemical vapors

Suppose you’ve had a physical object in your eye, such as an eyelash or dust particle. In that case, your cornea could become scratched, which could cause you to continue blinking excessively even after removing the irritant.


Swelling in or around your eye or eyelid can lead to rapid blinking. An inflamed eye may appear red or puffy, and you might experience a burning sensation in your eyes. Some potential eye inflammation causes include: 

  • Bacterial infections
  • Allergic reactions
  • Medical side effects
  • Malfunctioning oil glands

Most inflammation causes are easy to resolve once diagnosed. However, infections and allergic reactions can lead to more serious complications if left untreated so it’s important to get evaluated by an eye care professional if your eye or eye area becomes inflamed.

Eye Strain

If you spend an extended amount of time each day sitting in front of a bright screen, you might be straining your eyes. Eye strain can lead to dryness, which can lead to excessive blinking as your eyes try to compensate and re-lubricate their surfaces. 

As mentioned, try to take breaks at regular twenty-minute intervals while working at your computer. You might even benefit from setting an intermittent “blink” reminder on your phone or computer.

Reading for long periods, working in poor lighting conditions, focusing on a single close-up task, and driving several hours at a time can also strain your eyes.

Vision Problems

If you have undiagnosed vision problems and aren’t wearing corrective lenses, this might be the reason behind your excessive blinking. Vision problems can include nearsightedness or farsightedness and vision changes related to aging.

Neurological Conditions

Though much less common than the other causes listed above, certain neurological conditions can cause excessive blinking. These conditions include:

  • Wilson’s Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Tourette’s syndrome

These conditions are associated with other visible symptoms, such as: 

  • Balance problems
  • Verbal tics
  • Tremors
  • Difficulty controlling facial muscles

If you aren’t experiencing any of these other symptoms, it’s unlikely the cause of your excessive blinking is neurological; nevertheless, you should get evaluated by an expert just in case.

When Should I Seek Medical Care?

Even though rapid blinking isn’t usually a symptom of anything serious or life-threatening, it can still affect your physical comfort and ability to carry out day-to-day activities.

You should seek medical care if you find yourself unable to control your blinking, if your vision is compromised, or if there’s a possibility you may have an underlying cause like infection or a corneal scratch.

Are You Worried About Excessive Blinking?

There’s no universal answer to the question, “Why do I blink so much?” Excessive eye blinking can come from several sources. For example, it could result from eye strain or neurological conditions that can impact your overall health. The sooner you find out the cause, the faster you receive treatment. 

There’s no need to let the stress of the unknown impact your well-being any longer. Schedule an appointment with our knowledgeable and compassionate eye experts today.


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