It’s recognized as one of the cutest gestures in the world. Baby starts sleepily rubbing his eyes, a puppy runs his tiny paw across his lids, and stressed college students strike the sympathetic heart strings of moms across nation as they rub their textbook strained eyes. But the truth of the matter is, as cute as it may be, rubbing your eyes can actually cause damage. Not so cute anymore, huh?
The Cons of Rubbing Your Eyes
Not only can rubbing your eyes leave you susceptible to infections from the germs on your hands, but it can further irritate your eyes (hence the reddening and the swelling). Rubbing your eyes puts pressure on your eyeball. This creates pressure at the back of your eye socket and on to the optic nerve that connects to exceedingly fragile fibers of your eye. This pressure also slows down the blood flow to your eye and may cause more blurriness in your vision while rubbing.
It’s difficult not to “scratch” when your eye itches or when you get something in it, but rubbing your eye can do more severe damage, too. If you have something in your eye, and you rub vigorously enough, you risk the chance of tearing your eye lens and possibly even causing the retina to detach.
Not to mention, regularly rubbing your eyes excessively can also cause your eyelids to droop.
So, how do you make your eye stop itching in those pesky moments?
A few better alternatives include using lubricant eye drops. Lubricant drops rinse the eye of irritants and are gentle enough to use as often as necessary, even if that means every day. Another great alternative is to place a cool towel or cucumber slices on your eye to relieve irritation. If you’re eye irritation is allergy related, proper medication could also alleviate discomfort. And lastly, if you MUST rub, rub either right above the eye or right below it, but nowhere on your eye itself.
Who would have thought, right?