Monday, June 12, 2017

Blinking and Migraines: Are They Related?

Hang on, this is actually a post about migraines. But first some background:

Hubby and I disagree on a fundamental level about the rules of a staring contest. He believes one wins a staring contest by going the longest without blinking or looking away. I believe one wins by staring into someone eyes the longest, not looking away or laughing. Essentially, the difference is he thinks it's a physical task and I think it's a psychological one. People tend to get uncomfortable staring into someone's eyes for extended periods of time, which is what makes it a challenge that anyone can potentially win - if you agree with my rules.

We recently were discussing this topic, which got me thinking about why his rules make it impossible for me to win. I can't go long without blinking, which got me wondering how often does the average person blink. I Googled it, of course, and read several articles on the topic. What I learned is that people generally blink 15-20 times per minute. Apparently, this is more than what is necessary for us to keep our eyes lubricated. The thinking is that blinks actually provide a super quick mental rest for our brains and when we are focused on a task or otherwise using our brains we blink less frequently compared to when we are just relaxing. 

So I started paying attention to my own blinking and learned exactly what I expected to learn - I blink way more than 15-20 times per minute. Perhaps this is why I frequently have my eyes closed or (worse) half closed in pics. I've ruined many a group picture with my drunk looking eyes. 

I suspect I do this because of my chronic migraines. I am incredibly sensitive to light. It is one of my most reliable triggers and one of the strongest symptoms I experience during a migraine. Even back in the day, when my migraines were episodic, I was much more comfortable in low light. Seems logical that my extreme light sensitivity would cause me to be an excessive blinker.

I also noticed a correlation between the amount of fatigue I'm feeling and frequency of my blinking. The worse my fatigue, the more frequent my blinking. Perhaps when we are especially fatigued we need more of these super quick mental breaks that blinking provides. Seems logical.

I wonder if any of you migraineurs out there blink more than 15-20 times per minute too? 

Something tells me there won't be a whole lot of research done on the relationship between migraine symptoms and blinking but I'm curious what you guys experience. 

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