Staring ContestsStaring Contests

As a child, have you ever engaged in a staring contest with a friend where the first one to blink loses the competition? It all seems rather harmless in the scheme of things. Just a friendly little competition for the fun of it! However, are staring contests bad for our eyes? Blinking is an involuntary reflex that moistens our corneas before they become too dry and keeps debris from getting into our eyes. We normally blink approximately 15 – 20 times per minute on an average day. However, if it’s windy or there’s an increase in pollutants for example, the rate that we blink increases significantly too. It appears we also blink for psychological reasons. When we’re focusing while reading or listening attentively, our blink rate is reduced to less than half. At the University of Waterloo, researchers ascertained that even while we’re attentive, if we become distracted, we blink significantly more rapidly than when we’re focused.

Kid Eye HealthSo what are the consequences for staring an unusually long period of time? Your vision would get slightly blurry on the onset as your cornea becomes dry. It needs to remain moistened. As it becomes drier and drier, the transparency becomes distressed so light has difficulty traveling through it. After the dryness sets in, your eyes become exceedingly tired because the muscles have to work diligently to blink and you are pressuring them to do so. Your eyes respond by shedding tears that would begin to well up at the bottom of your eyes. Eventually, your eyes begin to really hurt. When you blink again, as your dry eyelid rubs across your dry cornea, you’ll regret ever having engaged in staring for an extended period of time. A group of Japanese scientists give us new insight into why we blink in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that tells us that “briefly closing our eyes might actually help us to gather our thoughts and focus attention on the world around us”. You can read more at:

WestSide Eye Clinic

Just as the “mind’s eye” sees an experience far more clearly, West Side Eye Clinic can help you keep your vision in focus. To make an appointment at West Side Eye Clinic to evaluate your vision, you can reach us at (504) 347-8434. For more information, you can submit a request at We are located at 4601 Wichers Drive in Marrero and are at your service Monday through Wednesday from 9am – 5pm; Thursday and Friday from 9am – 4pm; and by appointment only on Saturday.

Your complete eye health is our top priority!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.