March 9, 2015
Don't try this but failure to blink for only 30 seconds can result in painful dry eye symptoms. It's called "tear breakup time" (TBUT), the time it takes for the liquid tear film covering the eye surface to drain off and develop dry spots. For someone already experiencing dry eye symptoms, breakup time can be as short as 10 seconds. Radio host and fresh water activist Sharon Kleyne believes that education about water, eye functioning, TBUT and dry eye are important because air pollution and a changing environment are creating a global dry eye crisis that can seriously impact vision and health.
Kleyne will launch a series of presentations on water, tear film and vision care on the Sharon Kleyne Hour™ Power of Water® radio show of March 16, 2015. For the live show and/or past show podcasts, go to www.SharonKleyneHour.com.
The globally syndicated radio show is heard weekly on VoiceAmerica and Apple iTunes. The sponsor is Bio-Logic Aqua® Research, a global research and technology center founded by Kleyne and specializing in fresh water, the atmosphere and dehydration. Nature's Tears® EyeMist® is the Research Center's signature hand held humidifying device for dry and dehydrated eyes.
"Dry eye," according to Kleyne, is the loss of water content in the multi-layered tear film that covers and protects the eye's exposed portions. The tear film is 99 percent water but also contains lipids (oils), salt, proteins, antibodies and mucin. A decrease of only 2 percent in the tear film's normal water volume, says Kleyne, can trigger dry eye symptoms such as blurred vision, itching and burning eyes, headaches, fatigue, etc.
A normal eye, Kleyne explains, blinks reflexively (meaning you don't have to think about it) 20 to 30 times a minute. Blinking spreads the tear film evenly across the cornea (the transparent part of the eye) and adds new tears from the lachrymal (tear) glands. After blinking, the tear film quickly begins to evaporate, flow downward, collect on the lower eyelid and drain into tiny holes called "puncta."
The thin lipid layer covering the tear film's much thicker aqueous (water) layer, according to Kleyne, helps slow water evaporation into the atmosphere. Evaporation is speeded up if the tear film already contain too little water, lipid production is subnormal, or the air surrounding the eye is dry, hot or both.
If someone deliberately tried not to blink for 30 seconds, Kleyne notes, they would end up in significant pain, resulting from the formation of dry spots on the ocular surface. Dry spots can lead to corneal ulcers and permanent vision damage.
When the tear film contains too little water to begin with, or lipid production is low or uneven, according to Kleyne, breakup time may drop from 30 seconds to 10 seconds or less. When we become engrossed in operating a computer or staring at a TV screen, reflexive blinking can slow to 3 times a minute or once every 20 seconds.
Kleyne's suggestions for preventing dry eye and tear film dehydration: Drink at least eight glasses of water a day (in addition to all other fluids). Be aware of room humidity - rooms can become uncomfortably dry when there is forced air heating or cooling or insulated walls and windows. A humidifier, bowls of water or house plants can help. So can opening a window. When operating a computer, look away from the screen every few minutes and sit so you look slightly down on the screen, which exposes less eye surface.
Use of a personal hand held eye misting device such as Nature's Tears® EyeMist® from Bio-Logic Aqua Research also helps maintain tear film water content. A two to three second mist application humidifies the air in front of the eyes that instantly supplements the tear film. Apply as often as desired, especially in high risk dry eye situations such dry, hot or polluted air, computer operation, illness and when taking certain medications. © 2015 Bio-Logic Aqua Research. All rights reserved.
Source: "Method and kit for moisturizing the surface of the eye," Bio-Logic Aqua Research, April 28, 2009
© 2015 Bio-Logic Aqua Research