With a worldwide uptick in digital screen use, optometrists are noticing reduced blink rates.1,2 All this wide-eyed focus is have deleterious effects on our eyes, leading to dry eye symptoms such as decreased tear film break-up time (TBUT), increased ocular surface disease index (OSDI) scores, and increased meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) and obstruction, according to new reporting. The retrospective study, published in The Ocular Surface, investigated how incomplete blinks have lead to the loss of tear film homeostasis.3

Investigators looked at 58 eyes of dry eye patients and measured their scores on OSDI, tear film osmolarity and TBUT.3 They also evaluated patients using corneal fluorescein staining, Schirmer I testing and the LipiView interferometer to establish the number of incomplete and complete blinks per 20 seconds as well as their partial blinking rate.3

They found the number of incomplete blinks was significantly associated with TBUT and OSDI scores as well as instances of MGD. Subjects’ blink rates were not associated with other ocular surface measurements.3 

1. Portello J, Rosenfield M, Chu C. Blink rate, incomplete blinks and computer vision syndrome. Optom Vis Sci. 2013 May;90(5):482-7.

2. Wascher E, Heppner H, Mockel T, et al. Eye-blinks in choice response tasks uncover hidden aspects of information processing. EXCLI J. 2015;14:1207-18.

3. Jie Y, Sella R, Feng J, et al. Evaluation of incomplete blinking as a measurement of dry eye disease. May 29, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].