Spontaneous eyeblink activity

Ocul Surf. 2011 Jan;9(1):29-41. doi: 10.1016/s1542-0124(11)70007-6.


Spontaneous blinking is essential for maintaining a healthy ocular surface and clarity of vision. The spontaneous blink rate (SBR) is believed to reflect a complex interaction between peripheral influences mediated by the eye surface and the central dopaminergic activity. The SBR is thus extremely variable and dependent on a variety of psychological and medical conditions. Many different methods have been employed to measure the SBR and the upper eyelid kinematics during a blink movement. Each has its own merits and drawbacks, and the choice of a specific method should be tailored to the specific needs of the investigation. Although the sequence of muscle events that leads to a blink has been fully described, knowledge about the neural control of spontaneous blinking activity is not complete. The tear film is dynamically modified between blinks, and abnormalities of the blink rate have an obvious influence on the ocular surface.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blinking / physiology*
  • Eyelids / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Tears / physiology*