Most people rub their eyes because it makes them feel better temporarily. Specifically, rubbing your eyes stimulates glands in them.
This forces your eyes to produce tears to lubricate and hydrate your eyes which may feel tired and sore. Pressure also stimulates a nerve in the eye called the vagus nerve.
This nerve can physically relax you and slow your heart rate down. But there’s a pretty obvious downside to the relief that rubbing your eyes can provide: it’s bad for them.
Keep reading to learn about the harm that comes from rubbing your eyes!
What Eye Rubbing Does to Your Eyes
Rubbing your eyes not only applies pressure to them but rubbing them introduces unwanted germs and bacteria into your eyes. You can get infections like conjunctivitis from rubbing your eyes, even if you think your hands are clean.
You can cause injury if you rub your eyes. This can result in corneal abrasion. How?
If there’s something in your eye when you’re rubbing in it, this can cause an abrasion.
If rubbing your eyes is a chronic habit, you may be unintentionally thinning out your cornea. Over time, a thin cornea may begin to bulge out.
This becomes conical and may start negatively affecting adversely your vision. This is called keratoconus. Severe cases may need a corneal transplant.
Eye rubbing can also worsen already poor eyesight, especially if you’re nearsighted. Rubbing your eyes can even make glaucoma worse! Glaucoma develops when your eye pressure is too high. Adding external pressure to your eye will cause a large spike, which may lead to permanent vision loss.
If the practical reasons to not rub your eyes are not enough to break your habit, eye rubbing can also have an effect on the way you look. By breaking blood vessels in your eyes and the surrounding area, dark circles can form.
In other words, your eyes can become bloodshot. Most people want to avoid looking tired and aged before they need to. Rubbing your eyes can be a direct cause of this.
Tips to Stop Rubbing Your Eyes
It’s not enough to say you’ll stop rubbing your eyes. The act of rubbing your eyes does provide some relief from the real pain and discomfort you may be feeling.
You may experience these symptoms if you have any issues like dry eye. But rubbing your eyes not only causes all the problems listed above and more, but it also doesn’t even help.
In fact, rubbing your eyes may make your eyes itchier in the long run. The act of rubbing your eyes releases histamines!
To combat itchy eyes, use eye drops. You should use them in response to dry eyes. Use them proactively if you think your eyes are in need of hydration.
You can get a variety of eye drops to best fit your situation and preferences. There are different kinds available, so talk to your eye doctor about what they recommend.
Allergy medication can also help to reduce itchy eyes by counteracting the body’s natural histamine response.
Taking frequent breaks from computer work is also important for healthy vision.
Concerned that your eyes aren’t as healthy as they could be? Contact Colorado Eye Consultants in Littleton, CO to set up an appointment today!