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The Dangers of Rubbing Your Eyes

29 July 2016

Sydney eye specialists have gone on record to warn of the dangers of chronic eye-rubbing, and that prolonged periods of rubbing your eyes could be damaging your corneas.

Growing evidence indicates vigorous eye-rubbing can bring on, or worsen, a relatively common eye condition called Keratoconus. This affliction blurs vision by thinning the cornea – the transparent front of the eye. As the cornea thins, it begins to distort and bulge, and becomes cone-shaped rather than the usual round shape. Through this contortion, significant loss of vision can result as the cornea is the primary focusing outlet of the eye.

In the early stages of Keratoconus, vision may be fixed through glasses and the only noticeable difference between poor vision and Keratoconus, but as the condition advances vision can no longer be corrected due to the high irregularity of the cornea.

According to Clinical Professor Stephanie Watson from the Save Sight Institute, “Eye rubbing is often caused by allergies, and this can become a problematic habit. In chronic eye rubbers, more severe keratoconus often corresponds with the dominant hand.”

Twenty-four year old Darren Wright is one person who found out the hard way that vigorous and prolonged eye rubbing can have unfortunate consequences. Recently diagnosed with Keratoconus, he said “I didn’t know that just rubbing my eyes was so bad for, and especially that it has contributed to my deteriorating vision”.

The precise cause of keratoconus is unknown. It is thought that genetic factors may contribute, and that eye rubbing can lead to eye trauma, as well as trigger the release of enzymes which weaken the cornea.

It is crucial to publicising the effects of eye rubbing could be a simple but significant step in the fight to minimize the impact of keratoconus in the community. Eye-carers and allergists have a responsibility to inform their patients of the impact of eye rubbing and offer effective treatments for itchy eyes.

If you believe that you may be suffering from Keratoconus, or want to get more information, call Hunter Laser Vision on 1800 44 20 20 and speak to one of our experts today.


References Sourced From:

Darling Downs Optometry:

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