Why Our Eyes Don't Blur When We Blink

Posted: Jan 20 2017, 11:10am CST | by , Updated: Jan 20 2017, 11:14am CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

Why our Eyes don't Blur when We Blink
Photo Credit: Getty Images
 

Ever wondered why we are not plunged into intermittent darkness when we blink? Researchers in Singapore may have the answer.

It is because our brain works extra hard to stabilise our vision, without which our surroundings would appear shadowy, erratic and jittery after we blink, a study has showed.

Blinking lubricates dry eyes and protects them from irritants. However, when we blink, our eyeballs roll back in their sockets and do not always return to the same spot when we reopen our eyes.

This misalignment prompts the brain to activate the eye muscles to realign our vision, the researchers said.

The finding showed that when we blink, our brain repositions our eyeballs so we can stay focused on what we are viewing.

"Our eye muscles are quite sluggish and imprecise, so the brain needs to constantly adapt its motor signals to make sure our eyes are pointing where they're supposed to," said lead author Gerrit Maus, Assistant Professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

"Our findings suggest that the brain gauges the difference in what we see before and after a blink and commands the eye muscles to make the needed corrections," Maus added.

For the study, healthy young adults participated where they sat in a dark room for long periods staring at a dot on a screen while infrared cameras tracked their eye movements and eye blinks in real time.

Every time they blinked, the dot was moved one centimetre to the right. While participants failed to notice the subtle shift, the brain's oculomotor system registered the movement and learned to reposition the line of vision squarely on the dot.

After 30 or so blink-synchronised dot movements, participants' eyes adjusted during each blink and shifted automatically to the spot where they predicted the dot to be.

The study was published in the journal Current Biology.

This story may contain affiliate links.

Comments

The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/59" rel="author">IANS</a>
The Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) was established in 1986, initially to serve as an information bridge between India and its thriving Diaspora in North America. Now IANS is a full-fledged wire agency, putting out news 24x7 from around the world.

 

 

Advertisement

comments powered by Disqus