How Rubbing Your Eyes Affects Eye Health

author-aaron-barriga  Online marketing manager, Insight Vision Center.

  WWS contributor info-icon.png


Whenever you want to rub your eyes, reconsider this habit and choose one of the safer options to keep your eyes happy and healthy.

woman-rubbing-eyes-holding-reading-glasses - illustration

Do you rubbed your eyes out of habit or to ease itchiness?

Rubbing your eyes, if your eyes are hurting when you blink, might feel satisfactory. It may even appear to be a simple, harmless gesture. But, unfortunately, rubbing your eyes can trigger long-term vision and eye health issues.

You may be startled to learn about the possible hazards associated with this seemingly benign habit. However, don’t worry. This blog explains why you touch your eyes and its possible risks. It also provides you with some valuable tips on how to avoid eye rubbing.

So, let's delve in on how to keep your delicate peepers healthy and happy!


Why Do We Rub Our Eyes In the First Place?


Rubbing your eyes is a natural reaction to a variety of stimuli. It might be caused by exhaustion, stress, allergies, or simply anything irritating your eyes.

While it may provide momentary comfort, persistent rubbing might harm your eye health.

Here’s how persistent rubbing might harm your eye health:


5 Worst Consequences of Eye Rubbing


man rubbing his eyes


1. Increased Infection Risk


Throughout the day, your hands touch numerous surfaces, giving them a breeding ground for germs and viruses.

When you wipe your eyes with unwashed hands, you introduce these pathogens into your delicate eye region. This way, you can increase your risk of eye issues like conjunctivitis.


2. Injuries to the Delicate Tissue Around Your Eyes


The skin surrounding your eyes is fragile and delicate. Continuous rubbing can cause this fragile tissue to break down, resulting in sagging, wrinkles, and puffiness.

Furthermore, rubbing might cause blood vessel damage, resulting in unattractive redness.


3. Worsened Allergies


If you have allergies, scratching your eyes might make them worse.

Histamines, which are substances generated by the body during an allergic reaction, are released during rubbing. This might cause even more itching, redness, and swelling in your eyes, making them even more painful.


4. Increased Eye Pressure


Rubbing your eyes vigorously might cause an increase in the pressure within your eyeballs. This is especially problematic for those who have glaucoma, because increasing eye pressure can damage the optic nerve and lead to deteriorating eye health and vision loss.


5. Dry Eye Agitation


Rubbing your eyes can disrupt the regular tear film, resulting in dry eye syndrome.

Tears, which lubricate and moisturize your eyes, are crucial for preserving clear vision and reducing eye pain. This delicate equilibrium can be upset by rubbing, causing dryness, discomfort, and a gritty feeling.


5 Best Ways (Proven Tips) to Prevent Eye Rubbing




Now that you are aware of the risks, let's look at the five most effective techniques to avoid eye rubbing and encourage healthy eyes:


1. Maintain Good Hygiene


Wash your hands with soap and water regularly to reduce the passage of germs and viruses to your eyes.

Rub your eyes with unwashed hands as much as possible, especially during cold and flu season.


2. Use Eye Drops


If your eyes are dry or scratchy, use artificial tears or lubricating eye drops free of preservatives. These can give short comfort while keeping your eyes moist and minimizing the need to rub.


3. Manage Your Allergies


See an allergist or an ophthalmologist if allergies are causing your eye issues. They may offer antihistamine eye drops or allergy medications to relieve your symptoms.


4. Reducing Stress


Stress can cause eye irritation and the desire to massage your eyes. Incorporate stress-reduction tactics into your everyday routine, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or indulging in relaxing hobbies.


5. Take Screen Breaks


Excessive screen time can strain your eyes and cause eye tiredness. Remember to take frequent pauses and blink regularly. Also, follow the 20-20-20 rule: Stare at anything 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes to give your eyes a well-deserved rest.




Changing the habit of rubbing your eyes and prioritizing your eye health is critical. You can successfully resist the impulse to rub your eyes by practicing the preventive tips mentioned here, including excellent hygiene, using eye drops, controlling allergies, minimizing stress, and taking breaks from screens.

Remember, your eyes are valuable, and caring for them should be a top concern. So, the next time you want to rub your eyes, reconsider and choose one of the safer options to keep your eyes happy and healthy.

Aaron Barriga is the online marketing manager for Insight Vision Center. With a knack for medical procedures and an interest in eye and vision health, Aaron loves to share what he knows and what he learns. He blogs to inform readers about the latest eye care technology and other topics related to eye care, especially LASIK.