Rubbing your eyes, does it do any harm?
Most of us rub our eyes regularly, however, if you rub your eyes too often or too hard, you can cause damage in a number of ways…
Rubbing stimulates the tears to flow, lubricating dry eyes and removing dust and other irritants. We also all do it when we feel stressed. Did you know that in this case it is actually therapeutic? Pressing on the eyeball stimulates the vagus nerve which slows the heart and reduces stress.
The news is not all good however!
As we rub our eyes we break tiny blood vessels resulting in blood-shot eyes and dark circles around the eye. This is something most of us would prefer not to have.
•Our hands carry many germs which may contaminate the eye causing conjunctivitis.
•Sometimes when we rub the eye it is because there is something stuck in the eye. Rubbing the eye will cause the object to rub against eye causing it to become painful.
•Rubbing is most dangerous to people with certain pre-existing eye conditions. People who are short sighted may find that rubbing worsens their eyesight. Similarly, those with glaucoma (increased pressure in the eye) may find that it causes a spike in the eye pressure causing loss of vision.
•Most worryingly, studies have shown that continuous eye rubbing in susceptible individuals can also lead to thinning of the cornea, which lead to distorted vision and ultimately the need for a corneal graft.
So it is best to try to avoid regular rubbing of the eye.
The best ways to prevent yourself from touching your eye area is to use eye drops to keep your eyes hydrated and prevent itching. There are many artificial tears on the market to help reduce the dryness and itching. You are always welcome to come in and seek our advice about which drops are most suitable for you.
Excessive eye rubbing, whether due to chronic dryness, itchiness, or merely habit, should be addressed to avoid unpleasant consequences.