Ever noticed, why the world does not go dark when we blink?
A study reveals that when we blink, our brain works extra hard to stabilise our vision, while adding that blinking lubricates dry eyes and protects them from irritants.
The research, published in the journal Current Biology, found that when we blink, our brain repositions our eyeballs so we can stay focused on what we’re viewing.
According to researchers, when our eyeballs roll back in their sockets during a blink, they don’t 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,” said lead study author Gerrit Maus from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
“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,” Maus added.
The study participants 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 centimeter 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.
“Even though participants did not consciously register that the dot had moved, their brains did and adjusted with the corrective eye movement,” Maus stated.
“These findings add to our understanding of how the brain constantly adapts to changes, commanding our muscles to correct for errors in our bodies’ own hardware,” Maus explained.
The 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.
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