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How to Win a Staring Contest | Long Island Eye Doctors

Tips To Winning A Staring Contest and why you have trouble
Dr. Joel Kestenbaum

Are you one of those people who have trouble winning a staring contest?  Did you ever wonder why you can’t win?  Here are a few reasons why and a a few tips to achieving that gloating winning moment.

Why You Do Not Win Staring Contests

Most people who lose the staring contests have dry eyes, large eyes, light sensitivity, poor concentration, or a low tolerance for discomfort.

Dry eyes is the major cause of defeat.  A very large percentage of the population has dry eyes.  Another way of saying this is that the tear layer that protects the eyes becomes very inefficient.  Tears are composed of three layers, water, oil and mucous.  Each layer is secreted by different glands in the eyelid.  If one of those glands is not secreting properly, the tears will dry quickly.  Tear evaporation exposes the delicate nerve endings of the cornea to the air causing discomfort and the natural reflex is to blink to replenish the cushioning tears.  You lose.

Here are a few reasons why the tears are dry: diet deficient of Omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin A, poor eyelid hygiene, inflammation of the eyelids, pink eye, windy conditions and overexposure to ultraviolet light (UV).

And what can be done for dry eyes? To start with, eat a diet rich in Omega 3 fatty acids.  Salmon is the perfect food but you you would have to eat 12 portions of salmon per day to get the recommended dose of Omega 3.  Supplements are available but you should ask your doctor which supplement is right for you.  Eyelid inflammation such as blepharitis can reduce the amount of oils secreted from the eyelid margins.  The oily layer is the outermost layer and if this layer is not correct, the water layer will evaporate and you will get that mucous gunk (yes I did say gunk) in the corner of your eye. Topical and oral medications are sometimes helpful in improving tear film production.

Oh, and did I say lid hygiene? Keeping your eyelids clean and free of dandruff-like debris is imperative for overall ocular comfort.  There are numerous eyelid cleansing pads and foams on the market that can reduce the bacteria responsible for the debris on the eyelid margins.  Applying hot wet compresses to the lids is helpful as is using a no tears shampoo on the lid margins to cleanse the lids.

Tips on Actually Winning Staring Contests

  • For people with large eyes, (and you might laugh at this one) squinting is permitted. And it works as long as you do not blink.  The reason is that with a smaller eye there is less chance of the tears evaporating.
  • Those individuals that are light sensitive also usually have a low pain threshold.  Try to have your contest in a dimly lit room to gain some advantage.
  • Wear your eyeglasses or sunglasses to reduce tear evaporation, especially on a windy day.

 And lastly, some people just have poor concentration skills and for that, you just have to practice.

Happy Blinking

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