You may be wondering why it just feels so addicting to rub your eyes. Once you start, it is hard to stop. Out of tiredness, allergies, or dryness, we all tend to rub our eyes. But, a small thing like this may be the worst habit of your life.
Why Does Rubbing Your Eyes Feel Good?
Actually, rubbing the eyes could be therapeutic. Applying gentle pressure on the eyeballs through rubbing stimulates the vagus nerve which makes your heartbeat slower and relieves stress. Rubbing also stimulates the flow of tears. This produces lubrication and can feel soothing for dry eyes. However, all that rubbing could do more harm than good. Here is why.
Risks of Rubbing Eyes
Though it seems harmless, rubbing your eyes too much or too hard can cause serious problems. No matter the reason, you should avoid rubbing your eyes or else, you might be facing these following problems:
- Red Eyes – Too much rubbing can cause tiny blood vessels, or what we call capillaries, to break. This results in blood-shot eyes. Too much friction may also cause dark circles under the eye that can make you look more tired and older.
- Bacteria – Your hands and fingers touch a lot of objects. In a day, it might already have harvested many germs. Touching your eyes with dirty hands can easily transmit these germs to your eyes and cause infections, such as conjunctivitis.
- Foreign Bodies – Foreign bodies may enter your eyes as you rub them and you try to take it out with more rubbing. This could cause scratches in your cornea with the microscopic corners of the foreign object sliding in your eyes. This may lead to further damage.
- Worse Eyesight – People with progressive myopia may experience worse eyesight if they persist to rub their eyes regularly. Glaucoma patients may also feel a sudden spike in the pressure of their eyes because rubbing may disrupt normal blood flow in the eyes. This may lead to nerve damage, or worst, blindness.
- Thinner Cornea – Researchers claim that constant rubbing of the eyes may lead to thinning of the cornea. It becomes more conical in shape that can lead to distorted vision. This is medically known as keratoconus.
How to Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes
If you feel discomfort in your eyes, try to flush it first with eye drops. Sterile saline and artificial tears may also help. If discomfort or pain persists, consult your doctor immediately.
Always be aware of your hands touching your eyes. To easily avoid touching your eyes, use eye drops as an alternative to rubbing your eyes. This may help soothe your eyes by hydration, flushing out foreign objects, and preventing itchiness. Other eye drops, such as antihistamines and mast cell stabilizers are also available over the counter. In more severe cases, steroid eye drops may also be used to treat chronic eye rubbing most especially in people with frequent allergies.