Have you ever noticed your toddler blinking excessively? While some reasons for rapid blinking are harmless, others may require the intervention of your child's eye doctor.
Whether excessive blinking is a natural reflex, a way of communicating, or a sign of an eye problem, it's always important to pay attention to your child's behavior and seek the advice of your Michael L. Smookler, O.D. eye doctor if you're concerned.
Why Do We Blink?
Blinking is a natural reflex that helps to keep our eyes moist and comfortable. When we blink, we spread a thin layer of tears over the surface of our eyes, which helps to lubricate and protect them from dust and other irritants. This is especially important for toddlers, who are still developing their visual system and may be more prone to dry, irritated eyes.
Children often rely on nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions and body language, to convey their thoughts and feelings. Blinking is no exception.
So if your toddler is blinking a lot, especially during a conversation, it could be a sign that they're feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or simply need a break. While eye tics caused by emotional stress may resolve on their own, it's always best to consult your child's eye doctor if the excessive blinking persists.
When Do I Check In With An Optometrist?
Excessive blinking that lasts for more than a few minutes at a time can be a sign of an eye problem. Eye allergies, eye infections, and corneal discomfort/pain caused by something stuck in the eye, a corneal abrasion or an ingrown eyelash, can result in rapid blinking. In rare cases, rapid blinking may be caused by eye muscle spasms.
Misaligned or crossed eyes (strabismus) can also cause a child to blink excessively.
The toddler years are an important time for your child's development, and that's especially true when it comes to your child's visual system. Whether your child is blinking excessively, or it's simply time for their routine eye exam (generally recommended between their 2nd and 3rd birthday), Michael L. Smookler, O.D. in West Roxbury is here for you.
Why does my toddler blink a lot when watching TV?
Eye strain is the most common reason for a toddler's excessive blinking while looking at a TV, tablet or computer. Making sure that there is adequate lighting in the room can help avoid glare and eye strain.
How will my child's eye doctor diagnose the reason for my child's excessive blinking?
During a comprehensive eye exam your child's eye doctor will evaluate your child's visual system by checking their eye's ability to see and move properly. The eye doctor will also look for signs that the eye's structures are healthy, and that there are no scratches or other signs of irritation or infection.