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What could cause a 6-year-old to blink hard and constantly? He reports that his vision is fine and he is not in pain. He says that his eyes are sometimes dry and wet at the same time (yes, strange). I will make an appointment for him to see a pediatric ophthalmologist, but any insight while we wait for his appointment would be helpful.
Several years ago we studied a large number of children who exhibited excessive blinking and/or excessive force of blinking. Our study was published in the journal Ophthalmology.
Most children fell into one of four major categories: (1) The need for glasses or a change of glasses; (2) a habit or a psychological issues such as excessive stress; (3) misalignment of the eyes, including misalignment that is so subtle that it is not easily detected; or (4) a problem with the front part of the eyes such as dry eyes, a foreign body under the eyelids, et cetera. Often, no obvious cause can be determined. If an obvious problem is detected, it should be treated. When no problem is detected and there are no other associated signs or symptoms, observation is usually all that is warranted.
Answered by: David K. Coats, MD
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