The urge to rub your eyes is natural when you’re tired or when they’re irritated. However, is rubbing your eyes bad for you? Rubbing your eyes may provide temporary relief, but it can negatively impact vision health.
Reasons to Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes
If you aren’t careful whenever you rub, knuckle or palm your eyes, you could cause damage in the following ways.
- Dark Circles. Rubbing your eyes can contribute to dark circles. Consistently rubbing your eyes can break tiny blood vessels that surround your eyes. Over time, this can promote the development of periorbital circles, which appear as dark rings around or under your eyes. The darkened color is a result of blood leaking out of the periorbital vessels. While harmless, in rare cases, they can be an indication of hypothyroidism or liver disease.
- Eye Infections. We use our hands for pretty much everything, so it’s no surprise they accumulate dirt and germs (such as staphylococcus, streptococcus, salmonella, and E. coli) along the way. When we touch our eyes without washing our hands first, we risk transferring germs and bacteria. These germs can cause infections like pink eye or increase your risk of catching a cold or influenza.
- Potential for Injury. Different things can cause your eyes to itch. The most obvious is that you have something in your eye. However, rubbing your eyes is one of the most dangerous ways to get it out. In fact, rubbing your eyes can scratch and permanently damage your cornea.
- Thinned Cornea. Over time, rubbing your eyes repeatedly causes trauma and weakens the collagen fibers in the cornea.
- Released Histamines. If the itchiness is caused by allergies, rubbing your eyes provides temporary relief as you stimulate tear production. However, the extra pressure and movement also stimulates the release of additional histamines into the area around the eyes.
Natural Remedies for Itchy, Irritated Eyes
Next time, allow your eyes to naturally produce teats to flush out irritants. If your eyes are dry, try using eye drops to relieve the itch. If your eyes are irritated from continued use of computer screens, then give your eyes a break. Look away from the screen every 20 minutes and either gaze out the window or around the room to rest your eyes.
Another tip for tired eyes is the 20-20-20 rule. Look away from your computer every 20 minutes, gaze at a distant object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This encourages the eyes to relax the muscles inside the eye to reduce fatigue.
Last but not least, remember to blink. Tears coating the eye evaporate more rapidly during long non-blinking periods can cause dry eyes. The air in many offices is dry, which can increase how quickly your tears evaporate. If you experience dry eyes, blink 10 times every 20 minutes – slowly. This will help rehydrate your eyes and encourage tear production.
So, is rubbing your eyes bad for you? It sure can be!
If you have consistently itchy eyes, contact your eye doctor for a consultation. He or she can help you figure out the problem.
Trust the Professionals
For a consultation towards healthy vision, or for information regarding LASIK in Orange County, contact Laser for Eyes today. We are standing by to answer any of your concerns, and to help you get your vision back to where you want it. Join our growing family of happy customers who trust us with their eyes.