#19 | Please Don't Rub Your Eyes

Please don't rub your eyes. 

Eye Care Tip of the Week | #19

Please Don't Rub Your Eyes

Have you ever jumped out of bed and rubbed your eyes? Have you rubbed your eyes after getting something in them? Does allergy season just make you want to scratch your eyes out? Do you rub your eyes after a bright light gets shone in them, like when you visit the optometrist? 

In each one of these situations, you are probably doing more harm than good. 

Rubbing your eyes in the morning is your bodies way of trying to express the oil out of the meibomian glands in the eyelids and to stimulate tear production. A warm washcloth over your eyes works better. 

Rubbing your eye when you think you have something in them only moves the foreign object around on your eye causing more scratches and complications. Try flushing it out with a lubricating drop, or see your optometrist. 

Rubbing your eyes during allergy season just makes things worse. Rubbing the eyes causes a more significant release of histamines making the itch and allergies worse. Place a cold washcloth over the eyes or use a lubricating eye drop to flush out the histamines from the eye. 

Rubbing your eyes after having a bright light shone on them, won't make your vision return to normal any quicker.  

Here are 6 reasons not to rub your eyes: 

  1. It can lead to an eye infection by transferring bacteria and virus' from your hands. 
  2. It makes your allergy symptoms worse
  3. Eye rubbing is a risk factor for developing a potential sight-threatening eye condition called keratoconus. 
  4. Forceful rubbing of the eyes can lead to retinal detachments in patients with high nearsightedness or myopia. 
  5. Rubbing your eyes can change the pressure in your eyes, which is terrible if you have glaucoma. 
  6. Rubbing your eyes can break the small blood vessels around your eyes, leading to dark circles under your eyelids. 

If you 'need' to rub your eyes. We recommend that you do it very gently and always wash your hands first.

The best alternative is to use either a warm or cold compress.