Rubbing your eyes sometimes just feels good, doesn’t it? Most of us do it to provide some sort of relief. For instance, it’s morning, you’ve just woken up, a yawn escapes, and, yep, you’ve balled your hands up and are digging into your eyes as a way to wake up. Or maybe your pesky allergies are making your eyes itch and the only relief you’ve found is rubbing your hand into them. There’s a ton of different reasons why people rub their eyes, but have you ever wondered if it’s actually bad to do it? After all, everyone knows the eyes are fairly fragile; ordinarily we wouldn’t push anything into them, ever. And yet, the trusty old hand rub in the eye exists. Well, in case you’ve been wondering, yeah, it’s kinda bad to rub your eyes. Sorry to be the ones to break it to you (but we bet your eyes are thanking us already).
Without getting into anything too technical about rubbing your eyes, let’s talk about the hands. Throughout the day, you’re grabbing doorknobs, car handles, gas pumps, shopping carts, shaking others’ hands—all kinds of items literally covered in bad germs. As long as you wash your hands often enough, this isn’t really a problem. But when you rub your hands into your eyes—the same ones that have picked up microscopic germs all day long, well then you run into a potential problem. The germs can easily transfer into your eye, exposing you to a host of issues that can cause eye infections. Likewise, if you’re rubbing them due to, say, autumn eye allergies, then you could actually be pushing allergens further into your eyes, making you feel even worse! That’s because the allergens could be on your hand and/or eyelids. When you then rub into your eyes for relief, you’re actually making even more allergens enter the area.
From a vanity standpoint, it’s equally bad to rub your eyes. Crowsfeet, wrinkles and puffy bags under the eyes are all classic signs of aging. So many of us are eager to hide these symptoms, smearing creams and other serums that promise to fix our aging dilemma, but everyone knows one of the best things you can do is prevention. That is, do everything you can to prevent the wrinkles from coming in the first place, rather than try everything under the sun to make them go away. Really, it’s often too late at that point. The skin around the eye is extremely delicate, making it prone to aging. When you rub your eyes, you’re breaking down this fragile area, which can cause premature wrinkles.
Now, so far we’re talking about fairly minor bad stuff that can happen from rubbing your eyes. But for some people there can actually be serious side effects from rubbing their eyes. While these instances may be rare, it’s something to think about next time you go to dig your palm into your unprotected eyeball. When you rub your eyes, what you’re doing is adding sudden pressure to the area, which it’s not used to. While most people can handle this, those with preexisting conditions, such as glaucoma or progressive myopia, may not be able to. In some cases of progressive myopia, the retina could actually become unattached from the back of the eye. With glaucoma, you run the risk of causing nerve damage when rubbing.
Even if you don’t have one of these conditions, you could still cause some fairly serious damage. When adding pressure to the eye due to rubbing, the cornea could tear (ouch!). If it doesn’t go as far as tearing, it could still be damaged and become misshaped, affecting your overall vision. The risk of damaging your cornea due to rubbing is highest in the morning when you first wake up.
Overall, most people won’t experience serious side effects from rubbing their eyes, but, as seen above, is it really worth the risk? If you are rubbing your eyes in order to reduce cloudy vision, you may have an eyesight issue and should consult your eye care physician. Contact lenses, like Biofinity lenses or Air Optix Aqua, can help mitigate such problems. Our eyes are so fragile, and yet so completely important and useful to our everyday lives—it’s really not worth it!