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by fiona basil (2021-10-11)

Rubbing the itchy eyes is very common, especially in people who have allergy symptoms, wear contact lenses, or don't get enough sleep. Prolonged exposure to computer or cell screens can also be a cause.

If, after reading this post, you feel the urge to rub your eyes, we strongly recommend that you resist this desire, because this bad habit can cause serious eye disorders.

Rubbing your eyes can cause permanent changes

By rubbing your eyes too often, the cornea (the clear layer that covers the front of the eye) can become permanently deformed. Such a change is never a good sign: a deformed cornea can progress to keratoconus, a visual disorder characterized by a thin conical cornea (a healthy cornea is quite round).

An irregularly shaped cornea scatters light rays instead of concentrating them in one spot, causing poor vision that cannot be corrected with glasses or traditional contact lenses.

A scratch on the surface

Imagine you have dust in your eyes. It's not too serious, is it? Just rub your eye to remove the particle that bothers you. However, by doing this you are making a big mistake: avoid this common mistake as this particle could scratch the surface of the cornea when rubbing your eyes.

This very painful scratch is called corneal erosion. Corneal erosion can cause conjunctivitis and sensitivity to light. To completely heal corneal erosion, eye drops may be necessary.

It's an easy way to get an infection

Every day your hands come into contact with many objects that are highly contaminated with germs, from your cell phone to your door handles. Rubbing your eyes with your hands means running the risk of introducing pathogenic bacteria and contracting an infection (including conjunctivitis.

Notice for people with allergies

In addition to a runny nose and sore throat, allergy symptoms include itchy and irritated eyes. This is the reason why allergy sufferers tend to rub their eyes for relief, which is more harmful than beneficial.

To fight allergens in the eye, the body's immune system produces specialized cells called mast cells, which in turn secrete histamine and acid. However, rubbing the eyes can cause these cells to break down and thus release large amounts of histamine and acid into the already sensitive eye. So the itching is exacerbated.

Rubbing your eyes can affect how you look

Rubbing your eyes can also affect your physical appearance. In fact, you will begin to notice the appearance of dark circles under the eyes as the already very thin skin in this region can become thinner due to excessive friction.

Applying too much force on the small blood vessels under the eyes can cause them to burst, which darkens the skin under the eyes. Also, rubbing the eyes can accentuate the appearance of a bloodshot eye.

A frictionless solution for your eyes

Itchy eyes can be really bothersome, regardless of its cause. The good news? This is a treatable disorder.

An effective way to relieve symptoms is to lubricate the eye with eye drops, which are available at any pharmacy without a prescription. To maximize their effect, you can store them in the refrigerator. In fact, cold drops are even more relaxing for the eyes than room temperature drops. However, we recommend that you read the label on the bottle of drops to confirm that they can be refrigerated.

Other solution? You can simply rinse your eyes with sterile saline for a cooling and calming effect.

If the drops available in pharmacies are not effective enough, your optometrist may prescribe specialized eye drops or oral medications.

If allergies make your eyes itchy, your doctor may prescribe antihistamine drops. Some over-the-counter medications can also provide temporary relief (up to 24 hours).

Can't you go to the pharmacy? If you don't have access to drops or medications, you can apply a wet wipe with your eyes closed. But make sure it's clean. This little trick should instantly relieve you.

Instead of rubbing your eyes, seek safe treatment

Still want to rub your irritated eye? Think it better. However, if your itchy eye becomes a recurring problem, contact your optometrist. He will be able to recommend an option that suits you and you will enjoy clear and comfortable vision.

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