We love rubbing our eyes, don’t we?! It gives us a sense of satisfaction and relief. If you are tired or have dry eyes due to working on your computer non-stop, nothing feels better than to rub your eyes. Rubbing feels good because it stimulates the tear glands, lubricating your eyes and giving you a temporary relief. Pressing your eyes can also slow down your heart rate by stimulating the Vagus nerve. It is apparent that an eye-rub can comfort you in the short-term. However, in addition to giving you bloodshot eyes, rubbing your precious little eyes can cause some serious damage to them. Following are some hard to ignore reasons why you should not rub your eyes.
No matter how often you wash your hands; at any given time, your hands are likely to have dozens of different bacteria and viruses on them. By rubbing your eyes, you transfer these germs to your eyes. This can cause you to have pink eye or conjunctivitis. You do not only damage your eyes’ mucous membrane, you risk infecting others.
The skin around your eyes is sensitive. When you rub your eyes, you can break the tiny blood vessels under the skin around your eyes. This may lead to dark circles around your eyes as well as puffiness. If you have a habit or rubbing your eyes, you are more likely to develop premature crow’s feet and drooping eyelids.
Problems with your Lens
Your cornea and lens help refract the light and allow the light to form image on the retina. The lens in your eyes needs to be clear, well moistened and scratch free for it to let you see perfectly. If you have something in your eye try not to rub it, get it out using eye drops or sterile saline. Avoid rubbing as it can scratch your lens or cornea.
When you rub the eyes continuously with force, you put a lot of pressure on your eyes. This unnecessary pressure can wreak havoc on your eyes. Your eyesight may worsen and if you are particularly forceful, you can even cue retinal detachment, which if not treated can lead to permanent loss of vision.
Thinning of the Cornea
People who rub their eyes often are more susceptible to thinning the cornea. The condition is called Keratoconus and it may involve weakening of the cornea giving it a conical shape. Glare, halos, starbursts and blurred vision are common symptoms. In severe cases, a corneal graft becomes necessary to save the eyesight.
Worsening of pre-existing conditions
People with sensitive eyes or with eye ailments should avoid rubbing their eyes at all cost. If you have progressive myopia, you may not be able to see distant objects with clarity. You can worsen your eyesight by rubbing them. Similarly, if you have glaucoma the increased eye pressure caused by rubbing can lead to nerve damage and permanent vision loss.
Exacerbation of Allergies
One of the common reason people rub their eyes, is to alleviate the itching caused by various allergies. They anticipate some relief from the discomfort; however, they fail to realize that rubbing can release more histamine making their eyes even itchier. If you have allergies, get anti-histamines and keep your hands away from your eyes.
So now you know why it is important to not rub your eyes. Your eyes are precious, take care of them and do not forget to visit your optometrist regularly.