Why Is My Child Blinking A Lot When Watching TV?

Why Is My Child Blinking A Lot When Watching TV?

Eyes are the most sensitive as well as one of the most essential special senses of our body. Excessive and unmonitored use of these gadgets since a very young age has increased the use of spectacles among these children.

All over the world, about 60 million persons have vision problems from prolonged exposure to computer screens. About 25-30% of children using computers need corrective glasses for vision.

This article will help you understand the normal physiological process of blinking and also reason out why your child blinks a lot when watching TV.

Why Do Eyes Blink?

  • Lacrimal glands located at the corner of our eyes secrete tears. When we blink, a tear film is maintained. This tear film keeps our eyes moist.
  • Blinking is often done in an attempt to remove a foreign body from the eye.
  • Blinking helps to break fixation of vision when trying to look at two objects at different directions simultaneously.

We blink every 3-4 seconds and it occurs involuntarily in a normal individual. Each blink lasts for about 150 milliseconds. Blinking rates are more in females than in males. The rate of blinking reduces when the eyes are focused on something as in reading or writing or when using a computer. This is why the eyes get tired.

Infants or newborns do not blink as much as a normal adult. They blink about 1-2 times a minute.

  • Primarily, This is because the eyes of an infant are much smaller than adults and therefore do not require frequent lubrication.
  • Secondly, infants get an adequate amount of sleep and that is why their eyes do not get fatigued.

A wonderful coordination between muscles of both eyes along with proper nervous system control causes normal blinking.

Types of Blinking are:

  1. Reflex: This type of blinking occur in response to loud sound, sudden lights or irritation of the eye from a foreign body.
  2. Spontaneous: This type of blinking occur without any effort of stimulus. Spontaneous blinking occurs as a response to eye irritants and foreign bodies.
  3. Voluntary: This type of blinking is done on purpose.

Reasons Why Your Child Blinking A Lot When Watching TV:

Usage of computers, television, tablets, mobile phones and other electronic gadgets among children and toddlers has risen drastically over the last few years. These gadgets are being used more frequently as a source of entertainment for kids instead of regular outdoor games.

When allowing your children to use these gadgets, you must have noticed that your child or toddler blinks hard and blinks frequently or often your toddler may squeeze his eyes shut while focusing on one of the many YouTube cartoons and videos and games.

Your Child Blinking A Lot When Watching TV Also Due to These Reasons :

  1. Computer Vision Syndrome: Prolonged exposure to computer and laptop screens, tablets and mobile phones causes dryness of eyes due to inadequate blinking, burning and irritation in the eyes, eye strain, and sensitivity to light and often blurred vision along with improper posture of the back and neck while using these gadgets. All these symptoms come under the umbrella of the term Computer Vision Syndrome.
  2. Habitual Tics: Spasms of muscles of the eye can cause involuntary flickering of the eye muscles. This condition usually lasts for up to 10 years of age and reduces as and when the age advances. This condition can also be caused by Tourette’s syndrome.
  3. Refractive Errors: Nearsightedness or Myopia may be one of the refractory errors your child may have blurred vision making him/ her blink hard a lot.
  4. Eye Strain: This is the most common reason for when your child blinks a lot when watching TV. Adequate lighting in the room must be present to avoid strain and glare.
  5. Dry Eye: Tears help in moistening your eyes. When your child sits in front of the television, his eyes are focused on the screen. In this case, the child tends to blink lesser. Lesser blinking causes dryness of eyes, redness and too much blinking.
  6. Infection or Injury: Blinking because of injury or infection will not persist after the infection or injury has recovered completely. Since the eye is very sensitive, even the smallest grain of dust can irritate the eye. Blunt trauma to the eye can also cause your child to blink a lot.
  7. Stress and Anxiety: Especially from the public performance can cause excessive blinking. Here, the parents need to take steps to boost the confidence of their child.

Children are less aware of the hazards of prolonged exposure to television screens. Therefore, they sit for hours in front of the television screens watching their favourite TV shows. After a certain period of time, you may notice your child rubbing and squeezing his eyes shut and often blinking a lot.

Since this awareness is lacking in children, it is the duty of parents to monitor the time spent by their toddler or child in front of the television screen.

On the other hand, TV screen resolution, glare and radiation and display quality have a significant role to play in producing eye strain.

How to Stop this Excess Blinking of Eyes

Certain Measures can be Taken to Prevent your Child from Blinking too much:

  1. Lighting should not be too dull or too bright. Also, the lights should not throw a glare upon the television screen.
  2. Postural improvement while watching TV or while sitting in front of the computer or even mobile phones.
  3. Maintain an adequate distance between the television screen and your child’s position. Maintenance of proper posture and distance from TV screen prevents your child from having Computer Vision Syndrome.
  4. Ensure your child is not sitting constantly in front of the TV screen. Make him get up and take breaks. This initiative lets the eyes relax.
  5. If your child is rubbing his eyes or blinking too hard, some eye drops on prescription will help.
  6. Plenty of water and a well balanced diet of fresh fruits and vegetables is an indispensible remedy for almost all our health problems.

A pediatric ophthalmologist will use a set of diagnostic tools within his examination room to evaluate the most probable cause of your child blinking a lot.

Other issues like tics may require appropriate therapy and medications. Refractory errors may require the use of spectacles if your child is having too much of blinking and blurred vision not just while watching television, but also at school and while performing other activities.

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad