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Is It Bad to Rub Your Eyes? A Closer Look at a Common Problem

Is it bad to rub your eyes?

It’s something we all do: Rubbing your eyes after a long day staring at a screen, or when you wake up in the morning is only natural. But, it is also unhealthy. Today, we answer a common eye health question: Is it bad to rub your eyes?

Don’t Rub Your Eyes

When our eyes are fatigued, our first instinct is to rub them to get relief. This is because it actually does help – it causes our eyes to produce tears, and it stimulates the vagus nerve, which relieves stress by slowing down your heart rate. Rubbing your eyes might seem like a harmless way to let them rest, but it’s actually doing much more harm than good. Here are a few reasons why:

  • It Can Cause Dark Circles: The skin around our eyes is delicate, and as we get older, it is the first to show signs of aging. When you rub your eyes, it can cause tiny blood vessels in your skin to break, which can cause puffiness, dark circles, and even crow’s feet!
  • It Can Cause Pressure: Even rubbing your eyes slightly can double the pressure in your eyes. While increasing pressure isn’t necessarily bad, if you have certain eye conditions, it could be harmful to your vision.
  • It Can Increase Itching: Often, the reason you rub your eye is to soothe itching. Ironically, rubbing your eyes actually increases the production of histamines, making the itching worse!
  • It Can Cause Infection: Our hands aren’t especially clean. We use them all day long to clean, open doors, and touch other bacteria-filled surfaces. When you touch your eyes, you are transferring bacteria to your eye, which can result in infection.

Is It Bad to Rub Your Eyes? Yes – Keep Healthy with Other Options

It is bad to rub your eyes – thankfully there are other options. If your eyes are itchy or dry, try using a cooling eye drop to provider relief. If they are tired, spend a few moments with them closed, or look at a point at a distance from your computer regularly to get relief and soothe tension.