The eyes are one of the most vulnerable parts of our body due to their exposure to the outside. The eyelids are responsible for protecting their surface against foreign elements or other stimuli that could damage them. In addition, each time we blink our eyes receive a set of substances that moisten them and prevent them from drying out.
We blink approximately every 5 seconds. Together with the eyelashes, the eyelids help protect the eyes from foreign elements that can impact them. They also act as a barrier against exposure to too intense lights or high heat sources.
The eyelids have another essential function: the lubrication of the eyes. When we blink we secrete a combination of oils, water and mucin that prevent the eyeball from drying out. In addition to lubricating its surface, blinking has the function of helping to clean the cornea and conjunctiva of substances that have been attached to them.
What happens when we blink less?
When we do activities that require focusing our gaze on a fixed point for a relatively long period of time, we tend to blink less and, consequently, our eyes are not lubricated enough. Lack of lubrication can lead to the appearance of ocular pathologies, such as dry eye syndrome.
Reading or working for hours in front of a screen leads our eyes to tend to dry out. For this reason, it is important to take regular breaks applying the rule of "30-30-30": every 30 minutes, you have to look up for 30 seconds and look at more than 30 feet (approximately 10 meters). If we have lubrication problems, we can always apply artificial tears.
Dra. María F. de la Paz, ophthalmologist at the Barraquer Ophthalmology Centre.