Most of us rub our eyes regularly, especially when we feel tired, suffer from an allergy or a cold or because our contacts are dry. Doing this stimulates the flow of tears, which causes lubrication that helps remove irritants from the eyes. It can also be therapeutic at times—applying pressure to the eyeball can stimulate the vagus nerve, which helps relieve stress.
Rubbing your eyes too hard or too often, however, can be dangerous. Read on to find out why.
The Damage Caused by Eye Rubbing
Rubbing your eyes can cause tiny blood vessels to break. Apart from bloodshot eyes, this can result in dark, unsightly circles that make you look tired all the time. Also, your hands carry germs. Once you rub your eyes with your fingers, you’re transferring these microorganisms, and this can lead to conjunctivitis, or pink eye.
At times, a foreign body gets stuck in the eye, which causes some people to instinctively rub it and try to remove the object. You could be doing more damage than good if you do this because it is an easy way to scratch your cornea.
Rubbing the eyes is most dangerous for individuals with certain pre-existing eye conditions. Those with progressive myopia or nearsightedness caused by a lengthened eyeball may find that doing so may worsen their eyesight. It can also increase the intraocular pressure inside the eye for people with glaucoma, a condition that leads to optic nerve damage and irreversible vision loss.
Tips to Stop the Eye Rubbing Habit
There are many ways you can stop the habit of rubbing your eyes whenever they become irritated. If you have been experiencing symptoms of dry eyes, see a doctor right away for an eye exam. Steps will be taken to determine what’s bothering your eyes.
Also, treatment options like saline or eye drops and prescription medication for conjunctivitis are some of the best ways to treat the underlying causes that make your eyes itch. For added relief, you can apply a warm compress on your eyes.
Eye & Vision Care provides a wide range of optometric services, including eyeglass and contact lens prescriptions, laser vision correction and orthokeratology. Our team is committed to delivering exceptional patient care. Call us at (703) 961-9119 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We serve clients in Fairfax, VA, and the surrounding areas.