Rubbing your eyes, a gesture that many people do unconsciously but which can lead to risks such as eye discharge, injuries or aesthetic problems.
Rubbing your eyes is one of the reflex actions that many people do and that they unconsciously repeat many times throughout their lives. And although it may seem like a “harmless” habit, it involves certain risks for the health of our eyes.
Why do we rub our eyes?
Rubbing your eyes generally provides temporary relief from certain discomforts.
The experts of the Clinic Bavaria point out some of the most common causes of this gesture:
- dry eyedue to the lack of natural lubrication.
- Discomfort due to excessive use of screens.
- Itchy sensation that appears with different allergies.
For his part, the doctor Pedro Arriola Villalobos, ophthalmologist and member of the Spanish Society of Ophthalmology (SEO)in addition to citing itching as one of the main reasons why we scratch, he also points out that there are people who internalize it as a habit or because they suffer from some disorder that favors this action.
“It can be the case of patients with psychomotor delays, with Down syndrome or with obsessive disorders. They tend to do it inadvertently, sometimes even at night while they sleep,” he explains.
What problems can it cause?
When we rub our eyes we do it with our hands, fingers or even knuckles, becoming a way of transmission of possible infectious agents; and this one of the main risks.
In addition, we can damage the cornea and lead to the appearance of lesions on the surface.
According to the doctor Fernando Llovet, ophthalmologist and co-founder of Clínica Bavieraour eyes can suffer different problems to which special attention should be paid:
- Eye spills. One of the most common consequences when we bring our hands to our eyes and rub them is to break one of the capillaries that irrigate the tissue, causing a redness of the sclera (the white part of the eye). You can even produce one eye discharge.
- Lesions on the surface of the eye. We can damage the surface of the eye and our cornea by exerting pressure on it.
- Infections such as conjunctivitis and keratitis. Germs found on our hands can cause an infection in our eyes, as it is a very delicate area.
- Aesthetic problems. The pressure exerted on the eyelids and areas close to the eye can result in the appearance of periocular wrinkles.
- Keratoconus. It is a deformation of the ocular surface, and specifically of the cornea, which can be produced by excessive rubbing.
In fact, the SEO expert indicates that rubbing our eyes will release more histaminewhich is the molecule involved in the production of itching and therefore, it will be counterproductive, since what we do is produce even more itching.
“And in patients with glaucomaa fairly prevalent eye disease and the second cause of irreversible blindness in our country, by increasing the intraocular pressure when we rub our eyes, a worsening of the pathology can occur.
Along these same lines, he emphasizes that in patients who suffer from visual problem it is even more dangerous.
“In patients with myopia, the retinas are more atrophic and weak, and any trauma we do to the eye repeatedly can increase the risk of retinal diseases, such as hemorrhages or peripheral injuries with a risk of retinal detachment,” he explains .
How can we avoid these risks?
Dr. Arriola recommends certain keys that we must take into account to prevent our eyes from suffering:
- If it’s for itching or burning, use one artificial tear or one antihistamine eye drops will reduce discomfort.
- If it’s out of habit, it’s necessary break off of her Notifying our closest environment can help us stay alert.
- Go to the ophthalmologist to make a diagnosis of the specific case and administer one treatment.