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Why Do I Blink So Much? -- Causes and
Top 8 Natural Remedies
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Last updated August 17, 2016 (originally published December 5, 2012)

By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

Your eyes are often called the windows to the soul but what happens
when the drapes are pulled too often? Excessive blinking may be
caused by a number of different medical conditions, with the main
condition being "blepharospasm". Blepharospasm is what it sounds
like --spasms of your eyelid.

If you feel you blink too much, you are not alone. It is estimated that
there are around 50,000 cases of blepharospasm (excessive blinking)
in the United States and 2,000 more are diagnosed each year,
according to a 1984 study by Dr.J. Jankovic and Dr. J. Orman
published in the Annals of Opthalmology.

At one end of the spectrum, blinking too much can be simply
irritating. At the other end of the scale, excessive blinking is a painful,
disabling condition where you can’t drive, walk, watch TV or lead a
calm and normal life. Blinking may even cause you personal problems
– too much blinking is often taken as a sign of being uncomfortable,
nervous or even lying. A January 2012 poll on the Smart Politics
website looked at the blinking rates of Republican election candidates
and found a big difference in the number of blinks per candidate and
researchers concluded that voters are more at ease with a candidate
that has direct, unbroken eye contact.

Are you irritated or made anxious by the number of times you blink?
Is there anything you can do to blink more normally?

Why Do We Blink?

Blinking is a totally normal reflex that we take for granted every day.
Blinking regulates the amount of tears you have, as well as helps
moisturize the eye and protect it from foreign objects and bright
light. We can blink on demand, we blink as a reflex if something is
heading towards our eye, and we also blink spontaneously
throughout the day.

What Is Too Much Blinking?

Newborns blink only twice per minute, but we adults blink between
14 and 17 times a minute according to the American Association for
Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus.

You normally blink more when you are faced with bright light, a
change in temperature, or when you are talking to someone.

There is no scientific figure for how much is too much blinking –
excessive blinking is described as blinking that is more frequent than
usual, and it can involve one or both eyes. Excessive blinking may
also be blinking that is more forceful than normal. If you blink too
much you may also suffer from
fatigue, anxiety, and facial spasms.

What Makes You Blink So Much?

Blepharospasm, which we've noted is a medical condition
characterized by eyelid spasm, is a neurological disorder and is
considered one of the most common causes of too much blinking.

The condition is caused by the contraction and spasm of the muscles
around the eye and may last for a few days.

Women suffer from excessive blinking almost twice as much as men
and the average age of onset of this condition is 55 years old,
according to a 1988 review of 264 patients conducted by doctors at
the University Department of Neurology, Institute of Psychiatry in

Dry Eyes Cause Excessive Blinking

If you blink too much, you may have dry eyes due to lack of tear
production. Dry eyes trigger blinking, which bathes the eye in tears
and helps relieve the dry, scratchy feeling.

In addition, if you have eyesight problems like blurred vision or poor
eyesight, you find yourself blinking more to be able to see more
clearly. You may be blinking to try to clear your eye of a foreign
object such as a speck of make-up or a hair.

Blinking can be triggered by
stress, fear, or anxiety disorders.
Extreme fatigue can also cause you to blink more often than usual.
Very occasionally, excessive blinking may be the sign of a brain
disorder or infection such as a
tumor or encephalitis.

If you are blinking too much you can do something to calm your
eyes. We checked out the recent scientific research that shows how
to stop excessive blinking and clear your vision once more.

Botox Can Treat Excessive Blinking

According to experts, Botox (botulinum toxin) is not only for zapping
wrinkles.  Botox is one of the most effective treatments for muscle
spasms causing excessive blinking.

A 2005 study from Faculdade de Medicina Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal
found Botox was superior to placebo in all the studies they reviewed,
which said that around 90 percent of patients benefited.

A 2010 study from University Health Network and the University of
Toronto, Canada reported that Botox relieved symptoms and signs of

However, before you decide to try this strategy, you should note that
there are very few controlled trials which have looked at using Botox
to control blinking and further attention needs to be paid to how
many injections are most effective, and which doses and techniques
are best.

In any event, you should never use a non-medical person such as a
cosmetologist to administer Botox. Only go to a doctor for these
treatments. Botox is a poison and can cause paralysis or nerve
damage if mishandled.

Acupuncture Helps Stop Eye Blinking Caused by Stress and

You may find yourself blinking too much when faced with stressful
situations, or because you are worrying about events and things
going on in your life. If anxiety is causing excessive blinking, try a
remedy to cut your stress levels and relieve the anxious feelings. A
2001 study from Yale University School of Medicine and Yale-New
Haven Hospital found ear acupuncture relieved normal daily stress.
Acupuncture is of potential use in treating excessive blinking caused
by stress. (Read more
natural remedies to reduce stress.)

Cure a Magnesium Deficiency to Remedy Excessive Blinking

Some experts believe that too much blinking is a possible sign of a
magnesium deficiency. Magnesium intake is essential for our bodies
to function healthily and our average daily intake is lower than the US
recommended allowance (420mg a day for men aged over 31, and
320mg for women above 31), according to the Third National Health
and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1994, although it is not clear if this
indicates deficiency or if the allowance is too high to start with.

If you take certain types of diuretics, oral contraceptives, or have
diabetes, you are more at risk of magnesium deficiency. The National
Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements says kelp is an
excellent magnesium source, along with wheat bran, almonds,
spinach, cashews and soybeans. (Read more about
foods high in

Magnesium and Hawthorn for Excessive Blinking Caused by Stress

A combination of magnesium and the herb hawthorn was helpful for
people who suffered from generalized anxiety disorder, according to
a 2004 study from Innothera Laboratories, Arcueil, France. So the
idea goes that this combo could be beneficial for people suffering
from too much blinking due to anxiety – combating a possible
magnesium deficiency as well as remedying anxiety.

Treat Dry Eyes with Omega-3s to Remedy Excessive Blinking

Dry eye syndrome is a prime cause of too much blinking. Omega-3
fatty acids may help you to produce more tears, and also reduce
inflammation which can cause eye irritation leading to more blinking.  

A 2011 study from Mount Sinai School of Medicine found omega-3s
to be a novel treatment for people suffering from dry eyes, and a
2011 study by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
at Dallas discovered that omega-3 supplements raised tear
production and tear volume, resulting in fewer symptoms of dry eyes
and less blinking.

Increase the amount of omega-3 in your diet by adding walnuts, flax
seeds, sardines, salmon and tuna. (Read more about the
benefits of salmon.)

You may also try using a warm cotton compress with a bit of castor
oil on it to clean off your make-up or just to soothe your eyes at
night. The tiny bit of castor oil is a tried-and-true natural remedy for
watery eyes and, sometimes, it also can help dry eyes.

Blinking Caused by Dry Eyes Can Be Helped with Vitamin A

Help your dry eyes, a prime cause of excessive blinking, by using
vitamin A eye drops or eating foods like carrots, cantaloupe melons
and sweet potatoes that are rich in vitamin A. This is according to
experts such as those from The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul
(2009) who found vitamin A eye drops to be on a par with regular
eye drops for remedying dry eye syndrome and cutting down the
number of times you blink.

Use Valerian to Help Reduce Blinking

Because excessive blinking is often experienced in stressful
situations, or when you are feeling anxious, a herb that treats the
negative effects of anxiety could be useful as a blink remedy.
According to a 2002 study from Universidade Federal do Paraná,
Brazil valerian is helpful for treating generalized anxiety disorder, and
a 1998 study from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany
found valerian produced calming effects in stressful situations.

Clean Out Your Eye to Cure Excessive Blinking

One of the easiest ways to remedy one cause of excessive blinking is
to remove an object from the eye that is causing pain and irritation.
Don’t try to remove a large object or something that is stuck very
deeply in the eye – go to the ER in this case. But if you have a small
particle stuck under the upper eyelid or on the edge of the eye,
remove it as soon as possible. Clean around your eye with a wet
washcloth, and rinse your eye using a saline solution or cool, clean
water. You can also open and close your eye under water in order to
loosen the object and wash it out.


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