We all rub our eyes. It’s often done subconsciously, combined with a yawn and stretch or after a restful night’s sleep. Even babies rub their eyes when they’re ready for a nap.
On some levels, rubbing your eyes can be beneficial. Australia’s Vision Eye Institute has found that rubbing stimulates tear production, which can aid in the removal of dust and other irritants. Furthermore, a soft press on your eyes will activate the vagus nerve, which can help relieve stress. But these benefits only come from rubbing your eyes softly and sparingly. Rubbing your eyes too hard or too often may result in serious health consequences.
If you find yourself rubbing your eyes too much, this may be a symptom of an eye issue. Jacob West, OD, and his team at West Vision can diagnose your eye problem and treat you, so you can leave your rubbing days in the past.
The problem with rubbing your eyes too much
While rubbing your eyes lightly and sparingly is generally fine, rubbing them too hard or too often can lead to problems with your eyes.
Can damage your eyes and eyelids
Rubbing your eyes can break down blood cells in your eyes and make them look bloodshot. Repeated rubbing can also cause dark circles to form under your eyes. Furthermore, lots of rubbing can degrade the elasticity of your eyelids and make them droopy.
Can lead to you getting sick
Your hands carry the most germs of any part of your body. You shouldn’t rub your eyes for the same reason you shouldn’t rub your nose. Rubbing your eyes can give germs a direct route into your body, which can lead to infections, such as colds and pink eye.
Can make you suffer more during allergy season
Rubbing your eyes during allergy season has the potential to put even more pollen around your eyes. When suffering from itchy eyes, wash your face and hands instead.
Can lead to keratoconus
Rubbing your eyes a lot can lead to keratoconus, a structural abnormality that causes blurred vision. Keratoconus can make glasses or contacts a necessity, and in advanced stages it may need to be treated with corneal graft surgery.
How to safely rub your eyes
As stated, rubbing your eyes gently and sparingly is generally fine. The problem is when you do it too much or too hard.
When you rub your eyes, you should rub them with the same pressure you use to gently wash your face or dry off with a towel. Any harder, and you’re actively putting yourself at risk for damage. And again, you should only rub them sparingly.
If you have any eye problems, the eye specialists at West Vision can get you back on track to good eye health. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone today.