When eyes are itchy, we automatically rub them to cause pleasant relief. However, rubbing your eyes is a dangerous habit.
When you wake up in the morning, you rub your eyes to wipe away any debris that built up in your eyes at night and the gentle pressure helps you wake up. In addition to that, it stimulates your lacrimal glands, which produce tears to soothe your eyes. But the next time you do that habit again, think twice because it carries multiple risks.
When you feel discomfort, it is best to close your eyelids to avoid the following complications.
1. Corneal abrasion
Rubbing your eyes is one of the worst ways to remove debris. Rather than easing the pain, rubbing may push the particles deeper in your eyes, scratching the cornea.
Small scratches and abrasions may cause redness, irritation and light sensitivity. Larger and more serious injuries may result in infection or may lead to long-term vision problems.
If you feel or see any particles in your eyes, it is best to flush away the irritant with clean water or sterile saline solution. Seek emergency help if debris still remains or experiencing altered vision.
2. Corneal Deformity
The cornea acts as the eye's outermost lens. Intense and continuously rubbing contributes to the development of keratoconus, a condition that alters the internal structure of the cornea causing a deformity. When this happens, the cornea bulges outward until it forms a cone shape.
Although it does not cause blindness, the vision diminishes significantly if it is not treated right away.
3. Risk of Infections
You use your hands for just about everything, the result is most likely you have thousands of bacteria clinging to your hands. When you touch your eyes, you immediately transfer germs.
Rubbing the eyes can cause infections such as stye and conjunctivitis.
Blepharitis is caused when the eyelids are inflamed because of clogged oil glands. It is an infection on the edge of the eyelids resulting in itchiness, redness, and irritation.
4. Red Eyes
Frequent rubbing of the eyes can cause the blood vessels to broke resulting in red and irritated eyes. Overtime, it gives an appearance of tiredness and dimming around the eyes.
5. Appearance of dark circles and fine lines
Compared to the rest of your face, the area around the eyes is the thinnest and most sensitive area. Repeated rubbing can cause the skin to stretch, generating fine lines and dark circles. So the more you rub, the more you stretch.
There is no reason of excuse to rub your eyes. It is best to use lubricating eye drops prescribed by an opthalmologist. If you feel any discomfort or altered vision, go seek professional help immediately.