Eye Etiquette Optical Boutique
Illustration showing two cross-sections: one of a healthy eye and one with keratoconus

Eye Rubbing and Keratoconus

Do you know what keratoconus is? It’s okay if you don’t; most folks have never even heard of it! Keratoconus is a condition when your cornea grows into a cone shape which can dramatically reduce your vision. A way to reduce your chances of developing keratoconus is to try and reduce eye rubbing. Recent studies have shown that eye rubbing (especially with knuckles) may contribute to developing keratoconus. Eye rubbing can not only induce this change of shape to your cornea, but it can also lead to biochemical changes in the cornea.

Now that allergy season is in full swing, it’s even more important to pay attention to how much you’re rubbing your eyes. Those with allergies may be more prone to excessive eye rubbing, increasing their likelihood of developing keratoconus. If you find yourself rubbing your eyes more during allergy season, seek out other ways to control your allergy symptoms.

Tips to Reduce Eye Rubbing

  1. When using screens, follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look up from your screen and focus on an item approximately 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Get plenty of sleep. If you’re having trouble feeling rested, look into if you have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea and keratoconus have been associated together as folks who are tired rub their eyes more, and this behaviour can increase their likelihood of developing keratoconus.
  3. Use eye drops if your eyes are itchy or sore.

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