The Dry Eye Zone

Rebecca's Blog


Your smartphone can help figure out your blink!

Don’t blink!

I love this!

After reading the abstract below, I just had to google the iPhone capacity and found that yes, everything from iPhone 6 on up can do this as it has 240 frames per second capacity. I can’t speak to Android, sorry, but from as much googling as I did, it might be lower.

Anyway, the idea is that an iPhone can capture your blink function in enough detail for a doctor to figure out the following:

  • Interblink interval

  • Blink rate in blinks per minute

  • Percentage of incomplete blinks

  • Blink velocity

Here is my admittedly wicked little thought:

  • Record yourself for 3 minutes while watching TV or using a computer (whichever you do most).

  • Hand the recording and a copy of this abstract to your eye doctor, and ask them to analyze your blink.

Prediction: Your doctor will do one of the following:

  • Enter into the spirit of the thing and figure it out;

  • Use their Lipiview or some other technology to test for this, scorning your home-made version;

  • Scoff at the idea and make a mental note to hate me, or you and your doctor will learn something important about you. This may even increase your eye doctor’s sensitivity to blink issues. On the other hand, if your eye doctor is already using well and good.

Bottom line, your blink is very important to your tear film and ocular surface health.

Analysis of Spontaneous Eyelid Blink Dynamics Using a 240 Frames per Second Smartphone Camera.

Godfrey et al, Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, March 2019


To report initial results using a native 240 frames per second smartphone camera for 2-dimensional videographic analysis of eyelid dynamics during spontaneous blinking.


Spontaneous blinking was prospectively recorded in volunteers using a smartphone camera recording at 240 frames per second in 720p. A standardized recording setup was used in which the smartphone was mounted on a tripod stand at 0.5 m in the Frankfort horizontal plane. Subjects viewed a nature documentary video in primary gaze while their spontaneous blinking was recorded for 3 minutes. Exclusion criteria included known eyelid malposition or ocular surface pathology, including dry eye syndrome, contact lens use, prior eyelid or intraocular surgery, prior periocular trauma, or craniofacial abnormality. Primary outcome measures were spontaneous interblink interval, blink rate in blinks per minute, percentage of incomplete blinks, and blink velocity.


The authors studied 10 subjects, 5 men and 5 women. Average age was 34 (range 19-58). Mean interblink interval was found to be 7.4 seconds (SD: 5.2, range: 1.9-17.6), corresponding to a mean blink rate of 13 blinks per minute (SD: 7.8, range: 3.4-32.0). Mean percentage of incomplete blinks was 49.8% (SD: 33.3, range: 0-100). Mean blink closure velocity was 93 mm/seconds (SD: 31, range: 40-160). These numbers are consistent with previously published results of spontaneous eyelid blink parameters.


This study demonstrates that 240 frames per second videography native to modern smartphone cameras captures anatomic detail and blink dynamics with sufficient resolution and clarity to provide objective clinical information about spontaneous eyelid blink rate, dynamics, and function.