When you were a child, you may have heard it over and over again from a parent during allergy season, “Don’t rub your eyes!” But you probably wondered, what is the alternative? Your eyes itch and burn, and the natural response is to rub them and hopefully they will feel better. As an adult, you still appease the itching by rubbing your eyelids. In the process, what you may not realize is that you are putting yourself at risk for ptosis, a condition in which the upper eyelid becomes droopy. In some instances, over time, the eyelids can become droopy enough to interfere with your vision.
Rubbing the eyes is a very common reflex. When you’re tired, suffering from hay fever or a cold, rubbing your eyes comes naturally. This action stimulates the flow of tears that lubricates dry eyes and removes irritants and dust from the eyes. The problem arises when you rub your eyes aggressively or too often. This can cause damage.
Damage from Rubbing Your Eyes
Rubbing your eyes can cause problems in many different ways:
- Germs from your hands can get into your eyes and cause an infection such as conjunctivitis.
- Rubbing your eyes can break tiny blood vessels, resulting in bloodshot eyes and dark circles around your eyes.
- A foreign body in the eye could scratch or damage the cornea.
- Pre-existing eye problems can be made worse by rubbing.
- Constant rubbing can break down the elasticity of the eyelid skin and cause ptosis.
So, when hay fever season strikes, or pollution gets the best of you, what are your options? Keep your face and hands clean and use a cold damp washcloth over your eyes. Talk to your doctor about eyedrops to ease the discomfort of itching.
Rubbing your eyes occasionally and gently is to be expected – just make sure your hands are clean so you can lower the risk of causing infection.
Generally, ptosis is a condition that develops gradually. You can lower your risk by taking care of your eyes and minimizing the stretching and tugging of eyelid skin. If you have droopy eyelids and would like information on how to correct the problem, contact Dr. Kami Parsa. Schedule your consultation appointment today.