Long time screen users like software developers sometimes use computers so intensely that they do not blink enough with their eyes. This leads to dry eyes.

Unfortunately, people typically don't blink their eyes normally when using a computer or other digital devices or simply watching television intently. Specifically, computer use affects both blink rate (how frequently we blink) and blink completeness (whether the eyelids close completely during a blink).

Is it possible to induce blinking by manipulating the screen, for example by regularly making it completely black for a split second?

Blink patterns: reading from a computer screen versus hard copy. Optometry and Vision Science. March 2014.
Blink rate, blink amplitude, and tear film integrity during dynamic visual display terminal tasks. Current Eye Research. March 2011.
Computer vision syndrome: a review. Survey of Ophthalmology. May/June 2005.

  • $\begingroup$ I haven't heard of this before. Could you provide a reference to back the up? $\endgroup$
    – Steven Jeuris
    Feb 27, 2020 at 17:02
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @StevenJeuris It's a pretty common issue, especially among (but not limited to) those who wear contacts. A reference would be nice, though. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Feb 27, 2020 at 17:12
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Well, I have it myself. I though it was not so common but then I heard someone mention it in a presentation on youtube. Anyways, the edits from @anongoodnurse should be sufficient to back it up :) $\endgroup$ Feb 27, 2020 at 20:07

1 Answer 1


There are multiple ways to trigger eyeblinks:

  • Typically in scientific research an air puff is used.
  • Anything that touches the cornea.
  • Loud noises.
  • Bright lights.
  • Looming stimuli (i.e. something that is or looks like it is approaching fast).
  • More broadly anything that is unexpected and triggers a sense of danger.

So in short it is possible to visually trigger blinks but as far as I know not anything that would be an agreeable experience to the observer.


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