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.
-J.

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.

Hi,

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.

I would bring your daughter to the doctor to get it checked out. My brother had started doing the same thing around the age of 8 (or at least that's when we noticed it more) and it increased when he was under stress or extremely tired, and it turned out to be a tic caused by Tourette's Syndrome. Eventually other tics were introduced, such as constant throat clearing and slight neck jerking, but tics are different for everyone who suffers from Tourette's, ranging from mild to severe. It is better to diagnose this early on, because being informed makes it easier on everyone involved. What your daughter is doing may not be Tourette's at all,(however the fact that you say it increases with stress or fatigue raises a red flag for me) but it is better to be safe than sorry. Just mention it to the doctor when you take her, he or she should know what to look for. Best of luck.

I have a 13 year old daughter who also when she was young started with the squeezing of the eyes together I figured they were dry because her too till this day gets the pink/purple under both eyes, which is definitely related to allergies. For years her pediatrician blamed allergies I think it does contribute because it gets worse during allergy season. I don't want to scare you but I have been there, my daughter developed a motor tic which is like a constant movement/twitch. But hers switched, from the eyes, to the nose roll to other things. Just watch it and check with your pediatrician. If you want you can e-mail me if you have any further questions.

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.
-J.

YES.
we had the EXACT same thing. ped said it was allergies, we treated his allergies for a year at an allergist before we realized this year he need glasses.
The ped would have never caught it, I would have never thought of it. The preK teacher mentioned something about him looking at his coloring page closely & to get him checked.
Went to lens crafters to find out he needs glasses & now are consulting a pediatric Ophthalmologist.
Please check it out I wish we would have done this easy check a year ago:(

Hi T.,

My son did the same thing around 5 years old. He is now 14 and he as no signs of it. The doctor said it would go away and it did. Please take her to the doctor to find out what's going on and set your mind at ease.

All the best.
C.

Hi,
I'll start with a question - anything "new" happening around the time this started? I ask because my son (3 1/2 years old) started doing this about four months ago while visiting his preschool for the first time. The whole visit (about one hour) was very positive for him. He is a bit shy so it was a slow start, but then he started playing with the different toys, and approaching the other children.
After about an hour of play, they gathered all the children for a midmorning snack and some songs and stories. My son did not want to sit with them when being asked, but after a little bit of coaxing he sat down with me and my husband right there with him. This is when the excessive blinking started. It was obvious it had to do with him feeling awkward in a new situation.
Then he started doing it at different times during the day, both at home and other places - like a "tic".
It is definitely gone now, and has been for quite a while (can not remember when it stopped). He's been to the school every day since then, and he loves the school and the "mid morning gatherings"! His teachers tells us he loves to tell stories (sometimes long, elaborate ones!), for example about something he did over the weekend.

It is a good idea to talk to your pediatrician about it, but I hope this little "story" will help you relax a bit?

Best, U.

Hi T.,

My best friend's niece had the same thing when she was around 5 or 6. Her dr. said it was just a nervous tic (she was starting school) and would go away on its own. And it did!

I would definitely have the dr. take a look at your daughter -- but maybe you could think if there are any recent changes in your life/schedule that may have unsettled her, especially since you say it is more pronounced when she's stressed/tired.

Best of luck to you!
K.

it may be a stye. an eyewash works well with styes. you can get them in an Rx.

It could be a facial tick like in Tourette's Syndrome but you should ask his doctor about it.

T....Same exact thing happened to my daughter about 6-8 months ago. Same age...everything. Her doctor said its normal and to NOT call attention to it or you will make it become a habit. As skeptical as I was, I listened. As fast as it started is as fast as it stopped. When I stopped paying attention to it, she stopped doing it. I cant give you an exact amount of time, but it stopped. Talk to your doctor. I know that if it didnt stop in a like 6-8 weeks or if there were other signs (like getting stuck on words, repeating them, yelling them), we would have to go for testing. None of which happened. Hope I helped. I am sure your daughter is fine. Good luck.
Kristina

My son does the same thing. His is a nervous tic.

Hi T.,
My oldest daughter at 3, now 13, used to blink her eyes suddenly. I was scared at first, but realized it was just like a twitch and went away as suddenly as it came. The twiching got worse the more I thought about it and scared I got. Hope this helps.

Go see an eye Dr. right away. You don't know what it is.. and when it's the eyes you want to make sure she is ok. good luck!!!

This sounds like a behavioral thing to me, not something physically wrong. Since you mention that there is no discharge or redness, I would not think that it's an eye irritation. Maybe she is experimenting with her eyes and blinking just for fun. Don't call too much attention to it or she will probably continue to do it. But it is a good idea to mention it to the doctor to make sure it's not a nervous facial tic of some sort.

I think it sounds like a stye too!

http://www.drgreene.com/21_1198.html

Get her eyes checked, by a peditrition eye specialist, not you peditrition or reg eye doctor. See someone that specializes in children. Take care.

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