24 answers

Awkward Eye Blinking

Hi Everyone,
My 3 year old daughter abruptly started blinking her eyes repetitively and awkwardly about 10 days ago. It is fairly constant and basically looks like she is blinking really hard (squeezing her eyelids together) repetively. I can tell she does not have control over this and isn't doing it purposely. She has not been rubbing her eyes or complaining of itchiness at all, although she sometimes looks like she has bags under her eyes and they sometimes look pink around the outside. She does not have any discharge or crustiness in or around her eyes. At first I thought the awkward, excessive blinking might be due to being over-tired, so I have been trying to get her to nap, and go to bed a little earlier. It does seem to get worse when she is over tired, but I don't see much of an improvement with the extra sleep. Also, it seems to be more pronounced when she is nervous or stressed out. It is concerning me because it started suddenly and seems like maybe it is even getting a little worse. Has anyone seen anything like this before?? Any idea as to a cause or what can be done for it. I am going to call the Pediatrician, but wanted to see if others have encountered anything similar.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

This happened to my friend's son and she got his eyes tested. He needed glasses. Once he started wearing the glasses the blinking stopped.

Hi T.,

My son who is 20 months just started doing the same thing. I take it as either the dryness in the house (his nose has been dry too with traces of blood--so I know it's way dry), or that he is trying to be "funny". He'll squeeze his eyes closed like that or blink and start walking through the house... I haven't worried about it too much, and am just trying to get the humidity up in the house right now. We have an appointment with his ped. the 19th, if he's still doing it, I'll ask her about it.
Good luck, happy holidays.

More Answers

This happened to my friend's son and she got his eyes tested. He needed glasses. Once he started wearing the glasses the blinking stopped.

Hi T.,

My 9 year-old son has a history of seizures, and that was one of his symptoms. He recently started doing it again, so we're taking him to the neurologist to make sure that it's not petit mal seizures again. But there could be many reasons. She may be doing it to get attention (involuntarily)because of her new baby brother, or she may be stressed. The best start is to take her to the regular pediatrician and see a specialist if necessary. Usually, it's a phase that she'll overcome.

I had some awkward tics as a child, (including heavy blinking) and it got worse when I was nervous... that coupled with a little obsessive compulsive behavior that many children seems to phase through. I grew out of mine, but remember my mother telling me that it looked a little strange when I did certain things - until then it really did not occur to me to think about what other people saw when they looked at me during those times... so maybe mention it to her, but not in a nagging way, just now and again and realizing that it may be stress related, try to get to the bottom of those issues that trigger the behavior.

Take care, T.! My friend is in Ballston Lake and without power today due to the ice storms... stay warm!!

My nephew does that becuase of allergies. Not sure about the details.


is she on any medication? We noticed a link between that and miralax with our daughter, I guess it dried her eye's out so much, they were blinking to make tears.

My step-step son does that too. He is 10 this month. The ped dr says there was nothing wrong with his eyes and the eye dr said nothing was wrong too. The ped dr thinks it was for attention. When we finally kept track of the blinking it sort of was for attention. Like he would blink alot when his grandparents would come over so they would say what is the matter, are you OK? When we showed him how ridiculous he looked, he has not really done it as much. It has been less though. Hopefully soon he won't do it at all anymore. We pay no attention to it anymore and tell everyone not to say anything to him as well. It really has helped.
Hope everything for you turns out well with your daughter.

My son who just turned 8 was doing the same thing about a year a go. t was very noticable and everyone made comments about it. It would start and last a few weeks go away and start again after a few months. I talked to his pidi about it. It turned out to be stress related. He was having a difficult time in the first grade and was not reading yet and it stressed him out. Once we got him the tutoring he needed and his confidence level went up the blinking had stopped. And he hasn't blinked like that in a year now. Children get worried and stressed out just like adults do and it comes out in different forms. My son didn't realize he was blinking so hard and at first I would tell him to stop but once I realized it had to do with stress I stopped pointing it out to him because I felt like it was making him uncomfortable. Good luck!

If she seems to "space out" when she's doing it, see a pediatric neurologist. It would be a type of Petite Mal seizure.

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