Holidays got you rubbing your eyes? Here’s why you shouldn’t!

With all the holiday parties, school and work obligations and long to-do lists, this time of year likely makes you wish for nothing more than a long winter’s nap. But if you’re not getting adequate sleep – or seasonal allergies or illnesses have you down – you might be taking it out on your eyes. If you’ve been doing a little mindless eye rubbing lately, it’s time to make an (early) New Year’s resolution to cut it out! A seemingly harmless act could be hurting you in myriad ways. Here’s why you should never rub your eyes.

You’re spreading bacteria

Let’s be honest: your hands aren’t exactly 100 percent sanitary all of the time. Even if you practice good handwashing, it’s easy for bacteria and germs to transfer to your hands from surfaces, objects you touch, other people and even yourself. Whether you’ve been cleaning the house, typing away at the computer keyboard, texting on your cell phone or shaking hands with a coworker, there’s no end to the invisible bacteria that could be currently residing on your hands. When you rub your eyes, you put them at risk of infection, as that bacterium is transferred to your eyes, eyelashes and even eyebrows.

If you’ve got allergies, all that eye rubbing might be making your symptoms worse. That’s because allergens from the environment can easily become trapped in your eyelashes. When you rub them, you’re essentially transferring those allergens directly onto the surface of your eye. Eek!

You’re prematurely aging yourself

Your eyes do a lot for you, and one thing they’re really good at is betraying your age. If you’re a frequent eye rubber, you could be making yourself appear older than you are – or older than you’d like to look. That’s because as you age, the skin around your eyes becomes thinner and more prone to showing signs of aging. When you rub your eyes, it causes blood vessels in this skin to break, which can be unsightly beneath that thin skin. Frequent eye rubbers could be experiencing dark circles, puffiness, and even wrinkles needlessly. If you’re warring against crow’s feet, try to keep your hands out of your eyes. Allergies and illnesses can contribute to dark circles and wrinkles, and as previously stated, rubbing your eyes can make those symptoms worse.

You’re hurting yourself

Rubbing your eyes can cause you pain and discomfort – though you may not realize the cause. If you’re rubbing aggressively, you can increase the natural pressure in your eyes by 20 times! And this isn’t just when you’re sleepy or experiencing allergies. Activities, like removing eye makeup or using a tissue to dab tears, can also increase the pressure in your eyes. While this isn’t necessarily dangerous – your eye pressure should return to normal quickly – it can be harmful if you suffer from certain eye conditions. These include progressive myopia and others. Additionally, rubbing can cause you to damage your cornea, even causing tears or misshaping it, which can result in vision damage.

Time to get help

If certain conditions are making you rub your eyes more than you should, it might be time to get help! Causes of eye rubbing might include seasonal allergies, cold and flu and chronically dry eyes. You also might find you rub your eyes when they’re strained or tired, which might be happening due to an incorrect prescription or frequent computer use. Whatever your issue, come talk to us about it. We can help you – and your eyes – feel great again.

Until then, how about that long winter’s nap?

Advanced Vision Institute

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