How Fast is the Average Blink?

August 6, 2020
How Fast is the Average Blink - Soma Tech Intl

How Fast is the Average Blink?

The Average Duration for a Single Blink

When you blink, your eyelids clear away dust particles and spread lubricating fluids across the eyeball. Every time you blink your eyelids sweep oils and mucous secretions across the surface to keep from drying out. You don’t really notice the momentary darkness throughout the day that is created by blinking do you? The human brain actually ignores the blackness so you can experience a continuous experience. How long do these blinks usually last? Keep reading to find out!

How Long Does It Take To Blink?

On average the human blink lasts only a tenth of a second which is 100 milliseconds. Wow, that’s fast! Sometimes, it can even last up to 400 milliseconds. To put it into perspective, the tick of a clock lasts 1 second, making it possible to blink 3 times during a single tick of a clock. Remember, this is just an average and the actual duration of a blink may differ between each individual. The human blink can be affected by age, fatigue, disease, illness, or even medications. The human blink rate may slow down if a person is using sedative drugs, if they are sick, or even if they are tired. Some people drink tea, coffee, or other caffeinated beverages in the morning to wake up. Using stimulant drugs like caffeine could speed up the duration of your blink.

It’s safe to say that humans blink a lot. The average person blinks between 15 to 20 times per minute. This means that our eyes are closed for roughly 10% of the time that we are awake. Scientists say that we actually blink far more often than is necessary to clear debris and keep our eyes lubricated. Scientists from PNAS dove into this phenomenon to try to figure out why humans blink so often. They hypothesized that eyeblinks aid in the release of attention. Eyeblinks tend to occur most at breakpoints of attention. If you are listening to a speech, and the speaker takes a pause, you are more likely to blink during the pause than when they are talking. This is not saying that we don’t blink where attention is needed though, because we also do that, just not as often, but why? The PNAS scientists decided to take some patients into an fMRI machine to examine the brain while eye blinks were happening. They found that, when blinking, there was an increase in brain activity. This is most likely the brain taking a momentary pause to process the information that was just gathered.

How many times do you blink a day?

We know that the average person blinks 15 to 20 times a minute. But we also have to factor in the amount of sleep people get, but why? Because we aren’t blinking when we are sleeping! The average American gets about 6.8 hours of sleep. This means that the average person blinks between 15,480 and 20,640 times a day. How many times do you blink in a year? The average person blinks between 5,653,949 and 7,538,599 times a year. How many times do you blink in your lifetime? Currently, the average lifespan of the average American is 78.54 years according to Since we know how many times we blink in a year we can say that the average American blinks between 444,061,154 and 592,081,565 times in their entire life. The average of those 2 numbers is 518,071,359.

How long do we spend blinking?

We know that blinks last on average about a tenth of a second. And now we also know that a person blinks about 518,017,359 times in their entire life. So let’s keep math! Below is a list of how long we spend our lives blinking in a lifetime.

  • 51,801,736 seconds are spent blinking or…
  • 863,362 minutes are spent blinking or…
  • 14,389 hours are spent blinking or…
  • 600 days are spent blinking

Infant vs Adult Eyeblinks

Infants and adults blink differently. While adults blink between 15 and 20 blinks a minute, infants only average 1 or 2 blinks a minute. The difference is still unknown, but some suggest that infants do not require the same amount of eye lubrication because of their smaller eyelid opening.

Eye Myths

  1. You may have heard that when you are born your eyes are already fully grown. This is false. The eyes undergo considerable growth, especially during the first 2 years of life. When a baby is born the length of a newborn’s eye is about 16.5mm. A fully grown adult eyeball is about 24mm in length.
  2. Will reading in dim light damage your eyes? This is also false. Reading in dim light can cause fatigue in your eyes, but will not hurt them
  3. Does eating carrots improve your vision? False. It is true that carrots are high in Vitamin A, which is an essential vitamin for sight, but only a small amount is necessary for good vision.

Final Thoughts

Did you know that the human eye blinks last a tenth of a second? Do you know any more myths about the eyes? Leave a comment down below!


  1. It’s worth noting that the duration and the speed of an eye blink are not necessarily the same thing. Meaning the duration of time it takes to complete an eye blink (between 100-400 milliseconds). The speed of an eyeblink can refer to the speed or peak velocity of the eyelid moving to close and re-open.

  2. References would be helpful. Bionumbers says 100-400 msec range, but doesn’t specify mean or median.

  3. Nice article, I do have a question- How does a wink measure up with the blink? One is involuntary and the other is voluntary seems the wink would be slower. Thanks in advance Tim Doyle

  4. I don’t get the carrot myth, you say it is false but at the same time say the carrot provides the needed vitamin to improve sight, so why the contradiction or what is it that I’m not understanding well?

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