Rubbing Your Eyes can be Harmful

This innocent habit can damage your cornea and retina.

Cornea Damage: You could inadvertently scratch your cornea with a fingernail causing a corneal abrasion. Excessive eye rubbing can lead to corneal astigmatism.

Develop keratoconus: Excessive eye rubbing can lead to keratoconus, which causes the cornea to become thinner and weaker and can cause permanent visual blur. Instead of the cornea being a round shape, it becomes bulging and cone-like. People with keratoconus may require hard contact lenses and less frequently corneal transplant surgery to obtain good vision. Collagen cross-linking therapy may be required to prevent it from getting worse. Teenagers are particularly vulnerable.

Retinal Artery and Vein Occlusions: Rubbing your eyes temporarily raises pressure inside the eyeball and can compress the delicate arteries and veins in the back of the eye. These can then suddenly stop circulating blood and cause bleeding or stroke inside the retina.

Glaucoma: Rubbing the eyes doesn’t cause glaucoma, but may worsen vision loss in people with glaucoma.

So whether you rub your eyes due to dry eye or irritating allergies, be vigilant about your tendency to rub your eyes. Try using over-the-counter eye drop in the form of artificial tears or eye drops for allergy sensitive eyes to help lessen irritation and your temptation to rub.

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