Why Bother To Blink?

Why Bother To Blink?

Summertime is a gift, the best present of all to public school teachers. During summer break, I linger longer over breakfast, ride my bike instead of commuting by car, leisurely read the books I want and commit to catching up on important things I know I really need to do for myself. One such important and less than pleasant task was to find a personal physician. I have not had one since my last child was born, a few decades ago. Though I have made a few feeble attempts to find one, I knew this would be the summer to cross that off my list.  I appreciate those in the medical world and see their value and worth, but entering into a doctor’s office is not a pleasant experience for me. It is time consuming, expensive, a little impersonal and I worry a little about unexpected anomalies popping up. But after investigating a new physician or two, I settled on one, made an appointment and rode my bike to the nearby office. It was not as bad as I thought. After an hour-long personal and not at all painful conversation, I listened and took her medical advice: take one-a-day vitamins and get your eyes checked, something else I had not done for a few decades.   

Nourishment for the Eyes

For some reason, I was a bit embarrassed by one of the questions the assistant at the eye clinic asked me, “How long has it been since your last eye examination?” I recalled how our middle son had come to the same clinic, when around the age of two, he needed corrective surgery for a lazy eye. Since then, that particular doctor retired. I confessed that for me, the last time my eyes were examined was a blurred and distant memory. 

The assistant ran me through a series of tests determining how well I could read letters up close as well as off in the distance. Pictures of the back of my eyes were taken and when I met the young and well schooled physician he confirmed, with some surprise, that my eyesight was really quite good. When he asked if I have noticed any changes over the last few decades, I shared that sometimes, especially at the end of the day, my eyes feel dry and tired. 

He related that with increased screen time, reading or staring at the T.V. we blink almost 60% less. Blinking, he noted, is like a cocktail of oils that lubricate, cleans and moisturizes our eyes. He suggested that when my eyes become dry and tired that I apply eye drops. I wondered out loud, “Why can’t I just remember to blink more?” 

“You can try that, and if it is helpful, there are apps you can download onto your phone that will help you to remember to take blinking breaks.”

I smiled at this young and educated physician, but kept my last comments to myself, I’d rather not rely on something else to think for me. Instead, I believe I am still more than capable of remembering to take blinking breaks. 

Why bother to blink? If we don’t think to take blinking breaks for ourselves, then someone else will be telling us when to blink. 

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