Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes
Rubbing your eyes may seem like a harmless, even pleasurable, activity, but it can actually cause serious harm to your eyes and vision, in both the short and long-term.
Though we all rub our eyes from time to time, whether it’s because we just woke up or because our eyes are irritated, it’s important to avoid this habit as much as possible. When we rub our eyes, we transmit bacteria from our hands to our eyes, leading to a wide range of eye problems and vision conditions.
The Dangers of Rubbing Your Eyes
The most significant danger from rubbing your eyes is that it can lead to the spread of germs, which can cause various forms of conjunctivitis (pink eye). This includes bacterial, viral, and allergic conjunctivitis, all caused by someone’s hands coming into contact with their eyes.
Moreover, frequent or deep eye rubbing can lead to corneal abrasions, which are deep scratches on the outer layer of the eye that are both extremely painful and can lead to serious vision issues. And as if all that wasn’t enough, frequent eye rubbing can also cause dry eyes, as it disrupts the production of natural eye lubricants, exacerbating any existing eye dryness.
Eye Rubbing and Serious Eye Conditions
The dangers of rubbing your eyes become even more serious if you are already suffering from an eye condition. Eye rubbing can worsen existing eye conditions, leading to more serious and even permanent damage. These conditions include glaucoma, uveitis, and Graves’ ophthalmopathy, a disorder of the muscles and tissue surrounding the eye related to Graves’ disease.
These conditions can lead to a variety of eye issues, including, in serious cases, vision loss and blindness. While frequent eye rubbing is usually not the primary cause of these conditions, if you do suffer from any of these eye issues, it’s even more important to ensure that you avoid frequent eye rubbing.
Preventing Eye Rubbing
Fortunately, there are a few ways that you can reduce the urge to rub your eyes. First, if you suffer from any eyelid irritation due to allergies, use a cold compress on your eyes. You can also use over-the-counter antihistamines or eyedrops (for example, anti-inflammatory or anti-allergy drops) to provide relief from irritation.
It’s also important to practice good hygiene when it comes to your eyes. Make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly and regularly throughout the day. Try to avoid touching your eyes, face, and eyelids, to reduce the risk of transferring bacteria.
Lastly, wear sunglasses during the day, especially in the summer months when pollen counts are high. Sunglasses provide a barrier that helps to keep pollen, dust, and dirt out of your eyes and away from your ocular area. This can reduce your risk of eye irritation and improve your overall eye health.
The Bottom Line
It may seem harmless, but eye rubbing can actually lead to a variety of serious vision issues. If you find that you are often drawn to rubbing your eyes, try to control the urge and take the measures mentioned above. Your eyes will thank you for it!