Rubbing Your Dry Eyes: helpful or harmful?
Dry eyes, whatever the cause, can be miserable. Sometimes all you want to do is rub, rub, rub… It’s the only thing that seems to cause a few seconds of relief. But it’s oh-so-very short-lived! No sooner have you had a moment of comfort, the itchy gritty feeling returns with a vengeance.
If you suffer from dry eyes, you’ve no doubt been in this unfortunate position. You’ve also probably wondered if rubbing dry eyes causes any harm? The following discusses what the action does, and what—if anything—it achieves. More importantly, we look at some rather more definitive ways that will help to ease the problem.
Everything You Need to Know About Rubbing Dry Eye
- Why do we rub dry eyes?
- What does rubbing dry eyes do?
Why do we rub dry eyes?
Any sufferer doesn’t need telling that the reason they rub dry or sore eyes is to get some relief. It feels good because it stimulates the eyes to produce more tears. If you’ve got a small foreign object in the eye, such as a speck of dust, extra lubrication (tears) can help wash this away.
The action also stimulates the only cranial nerve that extends below the brain—the vagus nerve. This decreases the heart rate and can, in certain cases, reduce stress.
However, despite these seemingly positive reactions, it’s not advisable to rub your eyes. In fact, doing so—especially if you have allergies or dry eye—can do more harm than good.
What does rubbing dry eyes do?
Rubbing the eyes causes the following:
- It causes the eyes to produce more histamine: In turn, this makes the itching worse. Then you’re tempted to rub your eyes more, so more histamine is produced, and so on…
- It can cause the cornea to weaken: In certain people, excessive rubbing can cause a condition called Keratoconus. This is a serious condition that makes the cornea bulge and distort vision.
- It can cause retinal detachment or tears: Rubbing increases intra-eye pressure that, in turn, can increase the risk of retinal damage.
- Any foreign object in the eye can damage the cornea: If there’s something in the eye, rubbing can press it into the cornea, causing a scratch.
- You can introduce infection into the eye: Your fingers are likely to be covered in bacteria and germs. Rubbing the eyes can transfer this into the eye.
In addition, those with certain eye diseases are more at risk from eye rubbing. Examples include Progressive Myopia and Glaucoma, where increasing pressure can exacerbate the condition.
Effective Treatment is Better than Rubbing Dry Eyes
- Finding treatment for dry eye and allergies that actually works
Finding treatment for dry eye and allergies that actually works
The key to allergies and dry eye treatment is to partner with an ophthalmologist who specializes in the subject. They’ll first take an in-depth history and perhaps run some tests to determine the root cause of the problem. Only once this is done can a successful treatment plan be put in place.
Depending on the cause, a definitive cure may take a while to be reached. However, your eye doctor will be able to provide you with medication—usually eye drops—that should relieve symptoms fairly instantly. From there, they’ll work with you to find a more long-term solution.
In the meantime, you only have one important thing to do. And that’s to stop rubbing your eyes…
Don’t Suffer from Dry Eye and Allergies a Moment More. Contact the WBEC Today
At the West Boca Eye Center, we have dedicated clinicians who work with even the most complex allergy and dry eye conditions to help you gain relief. Our experts follow a step-wise approach that ranges from simple eyedrops to surgical procedures if deemed necessary.
Don’t put up with the misery of weeping, itchy, watery, gritty eyes any longer. Visit our dedicated website page https://westbocaeyecenter.com/services/dry-eyes-allergies/ for more info and call today to book your bespoke consultation.