Feeds

Why do babies blink less often than adults?

Bright eyes

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Also in this week's column:

Why do babies blink less often than adults?

Asked by Cade Stevens of Nashville, Tennessee

Babies blink less often than adults. In normal circumstances, newborns blink at the rate of less than two times per minute. In childhood, the blink rate rises. Thus, by about age 14, the blink rate rises to about 10 blinks per minute. In adulthood, the blink rate remains at about 10 to 15 times per minute.

This rate changes with attention, stress, excitement, eye irritation, and amount of sleep. Generally, when one has had more sleep, one needs to blink less. There is widespread variation in blink rate among individuals. There may be a genetic component in this. There may also be a learned cultural component as well.

Blinking also may play an undetermined role in body language as it does in our non-human primate cousins. The main physiological purpose of blinking is to spread tears over the surface of the eyes.

According to Dr Samuel Salamon of the Cataract Eye Centre of Cleveland, Ohio, it is puzzling as to why babies don't suffer from dry eyes due to their lack of blinking. It could be that since babies sleep so much, and thus spend so much time with their eyes shut, perhaps dry eyes are less of a problem for them.

Also, Dr Salamon points out, a baby's eyes have smaller fissures compared with an adult's eyes. That is, much less of the front of a baby's eye is exposed to the outside world - and to its dirt, dust, and brightness - due to the shape of the infant skull. A baby's eyelid openings are smaller in relation to the eye compared with the eyelid openings of adults. Thus, a baby's eyes may need less lubrication.

Babies do not manufacture tears during their first month of life.

A dry cornea can affect the outcome of today's high tech eye scans using tomography (OCT). According to Dr DM Stein and five colleagues from the Department of Ophthalmology at the School of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, writing in the June 2006 Opthalmology, corneal dryness affects OCT scan quality and measured nerve fibre layer thickness after only a short exposure time. What's to be done? They write: "It is recommended to instruct those who are scanned to blink frequently or to instill artificial tears."

Stephen Juan, Ph.D. is an anthropologist at the University of Sydney. Email your Odd Body questions to s.juan@edfac.usyd.edu.au

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Most Americans doubt Big Bang, not too sure about evolution, climate change – survey
Science no match for religion, politics, business interests
So, just how do you say 'the mutt's nuts' in French?
Vital linguistic question interrupts LOHAN spaceplane mission
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
STEALTHY NANOROBOTS dress up as viruses, prepare to sneak into YOUR BODY
Cloaking techniques nicked from viruses tackle roadblocks on way to medical frontier
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.