Rubbing your eyes may seem like a relatively harmless thing to do. Most of us do it regularly, whether we are suffering from hay fever or a common cold, or are just feeling tired and groggy. Rubbing stimulates tears to flow, lubricating dry eyes and removing dust and other irritants.
Rubbing your eyes can also be therapeutic. Pressing down on your eyeball can stimulate the vagus nerve, which slows down your heart rate, relieving stress.
However, if you rub your eyes too often or too hard, you can cause damage in a number of ways…
What damage can be caused?
How do I stop?
If something is stuck in your eye, attempt to flush it out with sterile saline or artificial tears. If this doesn’t work, head straight to your doctor.
The best ways to prevent yourself from touching your eye area is to use eye drops to keep your eyes hydrated and prevent itching. Artificial tears are a non-medicated yet highly sophisticated imitation of natural tears. They are available over the counter and are beneficial to anyone experiencing dry eyes. Other eye drops are available to prevent the itch that causes eye rubbing. These drops are called anti-histamines and mast cell stabilisers. In more severe cases, steroid eye drops are also used to prevent chronic eye rubbing, especially in allergy sufferers.
Excessive eye rubbing, whether due to chronic dryness, itchiness, or merely habit, should be addressed to avoid unpleasant consequences.