Rubbing your eyes after an exhausting day or because a speck of dust got in your eyes is probably nothing to be concerned about. It can feel therapeutic and satisfying. But according to the eye doctors at Laser Eye Center of Miami, chronic eye rubbing is not good for your eyes. In fact, it can put your ocular health and vision at risk.
Here, our doctors share five reasons why you should avoid repeatedly rubbing your eyes:
1. Bloodshot Eyes
Persistent eye rubbing breaks the eye’s small blood vessels, causing your eyes to look bloodshot and dark circles to appear under your eyes. This may make you appear chronically tired, ill or prematurely aged.
2. Eye Infection (Pink Eye)
Because your hands carry so many germs, putting your fingers or knuckles near your eyes can put you at risk of an eye infection called conjunctivitis. More commonly known as pink eye, this is an infection or inflammation of the transparent membrane lining your eyelid and covering the white part of your eye.
3. Corneal Scratch
If you get a speck of dust or another piece of debris in your eye, your body’s natural defense mechanism is to try to rub your eye and get it out. But it’s best to try to flush it out of your eye using artificial tears. Rubbing the debris against your eye can actually scratch your cornea (the clear covering of your eye). Corneal scratches or abrasions can cause pain and take a lot of time to heal.
Repeatedly rubbing your eyes can gradually weaken and distort your cornea, causing a structural abnormality known as keratoconus. This is one of the most serious potential complications of chronic eye rubbing. Keratoconus causes blurry, distorted vision that may not be corrected with visual aids. At its worst, untreated keratoconus may require a corneal transplant to restore clear vision.
5. Laxity of the Eyelid
Finally, constantly rubbing your eyes can cause the eyelids to loosen and eventually sag. Although this is less serious than a condition like an eye infection or keratoconus, it is still something that you probably want to avoid!
Talk to Our Eye Doctors Today
If you rub your eyes excessively because of chronic dryness or itchiness, you should consult with our eye doctors to find a solution. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment with our team.