Why do we blink?

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Did you know that you probably blink between 15 and 25 times every minute? It happens so fast that you don’t even notice!

But why do you blink? What is blinking for?

Blinking is controlled by the muscles in your eyelids. It’s a ‘reflex’ action, which means that it happens without you thinking about it. Being a reflex action also means that you can’t stop yourself from blinking, at least not for very long!

There are three reasons why you blink:

  1. To clean your eyes:
  2. To stop your eyes from drying out
  3. To protect your eyes from damage

Each blink takes less than 1 second and every time, your eyelids smear a mixture of oils, water and mucus across your eyes. This mixture clears out any dirt or bacteria from your eyes and keeps them moisturised.

And you know it’s not just people who blink – all animals with eyelids do it. Hamsters sort of wink because they blink one eye at a time! But snakes and fish can’t blink because they don’t have eyelids.

Here are some more fun facts about blinking!

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