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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 …
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 or optometrist.
The best way 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 imitation of natural tears. They are available over the counter and are suitable for people experiencing dry eyes. Other eye drops are available to prevent the itch that causes eye rubbing. These drops have 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.
Consult with your doctor or optometrist about which type of drops are right for you.
Remember, excessive eye rubbing – whether due to chronic dryness, itchiness or merely habit – should be addressed to avoid unpleasant consequences.
The information on this page is general in nature. All medical and surgical procedures have potential benefits and risks. Consult your ophthalmologist for specific medical advice.
IMPORTANT: If you are concerned about your eyes and require an urgent consultation, DO NOT use this form. Please call one of our clinics during office hours or contact your nearest emergency department.