We rub our eyes in the morning, we rub our eyes when we cry, we rub our eye all the time.
How often do you do that? If the answer is quite frequent, did you know what happens if you keep rubbing your eyes?
Not likely, right?
But, there are instances that we often end up doing a number of things in our daily life that we think isn’t important but they can leave behind grave impacts on your health. Rubbing your eyes consistently is one of them.
In here, we are going to discuss some of the negative effects of rubbing your eyes that you possibly didn’t know about.
What Happens if You Keep Rubbing Your Eyes?
Given how important it is to be careful with your sensory organs, if you are constantly rubbing at your eyes, you are imposing risks of infection and further possible factors that you are aware of.
Some of the side effects of rubbing your eyes include:
1. Blood Vessel Rupture
Also known as subconjunctival hemorrhage in medical terms, this a common condition that happens when you are constantly rubbing your eyes vigorously.
It is tough to distinguish the intensity of the rub that could cause this condition but it is believed that if you rub your eyes constantly, chances are that the same will end up affecting your vision and eye health in general.
The condition is not something that you need to fret about a lot because oftentimes, the condition does get better within a week or two.
But, in the extreme conditions, it can also cause the blood clots inside the eye, the persistent presence of which later affects your vision in the long term.
2. Damage to the cornea
The cornea of the eyes is the outermost protective layer that covers the iris and the pupil and prevents unnecessary foreign particles from entering the eyes.
When you are constantly rubbing at your eyes, there are chances and risks of your nail cause a lesion in the cornea, without you knowing. This can later lead to abrasion, one that can even result in a fatal outcome that could have been prevented otherwise.
Not just that, while you are rubbing your eyes, you can also often end up getting some eyelashes on your cornea, causing a constant poking feeling and making it harder for you to see. It makes your eyes itchier than before.
In severe cases, excessive eye rubbing can also lead to a condition called corneal astigmatism (R) which affects the curvature of the cornea, thus affecting your sight.
3. Chronic Eye Disease
You might not realize this but one of the most common long term effects of rubbing your eyes is that it contributes to chronic eye diseases in individuals. There have been a number of conducted studies which have found that constant rubbing of the eyes further contributes to the risks of corneal thinning.
This is what causes the condition known as keratoconus, making your cornea see more conical in shape, altering the refractive index and making it harder for you to see.
If you are someone who already struggles with eye-related issues, forced eye rubbing can further make the condition even worse. Even the condition of progressive myopia is affected because of the eye rubbing.
Since the eye rubbing hinders with the normal blood circulation around the eye, the same has negative impacts on the individuals who struggle with glaucoma.
4. Worsened Condition of Glaucoma
Even though we did mention the condition on glaucoma briefly in the prior section, it is necessary that we do mention the condition with a better explanation.
Glaucoma is not just one condition but a group of eye conditions which affect the overall eye health and can even cause loss of vision if not treated on time.
Even though the condition is mostly noticed in people over the age of 60, it is believed that the constant rubbing of eyes could be one of the most common reasons behind the condition.
Since glaucoma already alters the pressure of the fluid inside the eyes, constant rubbing of the eyes further worsens the condition beyond control.
It affects the intraocular pressure directly, thus affecting the functioning of the optic nerve further. Even the doctors suggest preventing rubbing the eyes following application of any medications for glaucoma as it makes the condition even worse.
5. Risks of Dark Circles
Who would have thought, right? But, one of the most common answers to what happens if you keep rubbing your eyes is that it enhances the risks of dark circles.
Dark circles can be a side effect of a number of underlying health conditions but oftentimes, when you rub your eyes, the same can make your under eyes, look darker in comparison to the rest of your face.
The skin around the eyes is the thinnest and the most delicate. So, when you are rubbing at your eyes vigorously, chances are that you are affecting the tiny blood vessels that are located around the eyes.
The broken blood vessels is what gives the characteristic dark circles appear under the eyes. Often times, if you find yourself waking up with dark circles even when you are getting quality sleep, the same could be because of the constant rubbing of the eyes.
6. Worsened Condition of Myopia
Nearsightedness or myopia is a condition where you find it hard to see the objects located far in the distance. Often times, the people struggling with the condition of progressive myopia are likely going to make the situation worse if they constantly rub their eyes.
Even though there are not many explanations as to why this happens, it is believed that one of the long terms effects of rubbing your eyes is progressing the condition of the nearsightedness for the worse.
7. Risks of Eye Infections
Keratitis or conjunctivitis are two of the most common forms of eye infections that affect people across the world. If you have been wondering about the negative effects of rubbing your eyes, it is likely to be one of them.
Your fingers and hand contain a lot of germs and bacteria. So, when you are rubbing your eyes, you are unconsciously transferring those germs to the eyes, causing infection in the eyes.
If you start experiencing constant itchiness and redness in the eyes, followed by watery eyes and persistent discomfort, it is best that you see a doctor for the same before it takes a turn for the worse.
8. Enhanced Risks of Injury
Say, for example, you are out in the beach and a sudden gust of wind comes and causes some dust particles and small sand particles to enter into your eye.
Our first instinct is to rub at our eyes to get rid of the discomfort and the irritation that you are feeling but the same is what ends up making the situation worse.
If you have some big dust particle lodged inside your eyes, it is likely that you will end up scratching the corneal lining with the sharp edges of the sand particle or the dust, causing an injury.
A corneal abrasion is one of the most common forms of injuries that one experiences when they constantly rub their eyes.
If you feel like something is poking inside your eyes, it is in your best interest that you avoid scratching or rubbing your eyes.
9. Lax Eyelid
As unbelievable as it might sound, it is true. Constant rubbing of the eyes affect the elasticity of the skin around the eyes, causing it to go lax and lose its elasticity. This can make your eyes look droopy and can affect your vision and eye health in general.
It is quite a serious problem and one of the long terms side effects of rubbing your eyes. So, this won’t affect your eyes overnight but if you are very persistent with your rubbing and do it almost daily, you might start noticing the impacts later in the day.
10. Trigger Histamine Release
Histamines are released as an immune response to ward off the risks of infection and causes inflammation as a side effect.
If you are scratching and rubbing at your eyes, chances are that the activation of the tear glands further trigger the histamine release in the eyes, causing it to look inflamed and red.
If you have been feeling itchy in your eyes and rubbing it to get some relief, the added pressure on the eyes further causes the inflammatory response of histamine to set in, further making the situation worse than before.
How to Stop Yourself from Rubbing Your Eyes?
With the negative effects of rubbing your eyes out of the way, the next thing that we would like to discuss includes the ways you can prevent these risks from setting in.
We have shared some of the effective ways that you can opt for to stop rubbing your eyes.
Some of them include:
1. Keep your hands engaged
By this, we mean that when you have a sudden urge to itch or rub your eyes, instead of giving into the desire, engage your hands doing something else. It could be absolutely anything, be it playing a video game or even just keeping your hands engaged by typing on the keyboard.
2. Opt for a Warm Compress
Yet another amazing way that can help prevent you from rubbing your eyes is by opting for some warm compress. Get a clean cloth and soak it in some warm water and wring out the excess water. Use that and put it on your eyes and clean the surroundings to keep your eyes cleaned and prevent the risks of infection and the side effects as we have mentioned above.
3. Wear Gloves
If you are someone who has a hard time controlling their hands from scratching their eyes, you might as well be safe. Wearing gloves or mittens can prevent the transfer of the germs from the hands to the eyes, thus helping keep your eyes safe and in the best condition.
4. Opt for Medication
For those who struggle with consistent complaints of discomfort and irritation in your eyes, one of the best ways to relieve that is by opting for some kind of over the counter medication that can help. Often times, eye drops can help in cleansing the eyes and flushes out any kind of irritants that have been making you wanting to itch at your eyes.
5. Talk Yourself Through It
Often times, we experience the rubbing of eyes as a reflex action. We feel something poking in the eyes and the first thing that you do is poke our fingers and rub at the eyes to get rid of the discomfort.
Prepare in your mind that it is not necessary for you to scratch your eyes. This can effectively help you prevent the risks from steeping in.
Talk yourself out of it.
If you have been wondering what happens if you keep rubbing your eyes, these are some of the complications that you are likely going to experience. It is advised that you don’t do that and try and find alternative ways to combat the complaints. Take care of your eye health before it takes a turn for the worse.