Why Shouldn’t You Rub Your Eyes?

By Chandra Pepino For Belo Medical Group on November 16, 2020

Since our grade-school textbooks of old, we’ve been told not to rub our eyes. While the reasons seem obvious, we often find ourselves rubbing our eyes anyway, especially when we’re exhausted (or couldn’t care less). But our eyeballs themselves are sensitive to infection and foreign objects, and the skin around our eyes is just as delicate. Despite probably knowing all that, you might still wonder: is it really such a big deal if I rub my eyes once in a while?

We’re sorry to scare you like this, but we believe the pros outweigh the cons. Look what happens when you rub your eyes, as illustrated by an MRI scan:

Yeah. Not pretty.

Now that we have your attention, here are three reasons you should refrain from rubbing your eyes.

1. It can damage your cornea.

Says the Cleveland Clinic, you can accidentally scratch your cornea with your nail while rubbing. Rubbing can also cause your eyelashes to be misdirected towards your eyeball, causing even more unwanted friction. Finally, corneal astigmatism is also a risk.

2. You could end up needing glasses.

The Atlantic Eye Institute has had its share of patients who have developed keratoconus due to excessive eye rubbing! “The cornea can become thin and may also begin to change shape, bulging out to form more of a cone shape than a round one. This condition is called keratoconus and is typically the result of genetics, oxidative stress, or eye disease,” they explained. Keratoconus can cause blurry, distorted vision, resulting in you needing to get eyeglasses or contacts. So if you don’t want those eye care expenses to rack up, hands off!

3. It causes unsightly dark circles.

According to the Vision Eye Institute in Australia, “rubbing your eyes can play havoc with your appearance! It causes tiny blood vessels to break, resulting in blood-shot eyes and those dark, unsightly circles that everyone is always trying to avoid.”

4. It highly increases your risk of contracting COVID-19.

“When a sick person coughs or talks, they can release virus droplets from their mouth, right into another person’s face,” explains the University of Utah. We contract droplets through our mucous membranes, particularly in our mouth, nose, and most importantly, in the membranes protecting our eyes (also known as the conjunctiva). “That means the virus can be spread if someone rubs an infected eye and then touches someone else.” To keep you and your family safe from the coronavirus, be sure to quit the eye rubbing!

We hope we’ve given you enough of a healthy scare to keep you from rubbing your eyes again! If, however, the damage has been done in the form of dark circles, puffiness, and more, don’t worry—our Belo MDs can BelofEYE you right back!

To book your BelofEYE appointment, call 8819-BELO, or email info@belomed.com.

Want to chat before diving in? Click here to book an online consultation with a Belo MD. If you want to speak to the Beauty Expert herself, click here to book an online consultation with Dr. Vicki Belo.

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