Can Rubbing Your Eyes Cause Keratoconus?

The following article addresses the questions of whether “eye-rubbing” behavior can lead to the ocular condition known as keratoconus. Our optometrist has extensive experience in treating this condition. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment and to find out what options are available.

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What Is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is an ocular disease affecting the clear outer covering of the eye responsible for focusing light on the retina. With this condition, the cornea gradually thins and bulges outward, leading to a conical shape and  impaired vision. In addition to genetic factors, trauma can also play a role.

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Trauma as a Contributing Factor

Studies show that trauma may cause or aggravate this disorder. One common behavior associated with this condition is vigorous eye-rubbing, particularly with the hard, bony, section of the knuckles. Eye-rubbing may also be indicative of an infection or some other condition. In such instances, in addition to the underlying medical issue, eye-rubbing may contribute to the onset of keratoconus.



If you are excessively rubbing your eyes, make an effort to cease the behavior, which by itself is a sign of possible trauma to the eye.  Contact an optometrist to schedule an appointment. Other symptoms of keratoconus include: distorted vision, blurred vision, seeing streaks or trails when looking at lights, and problems with glare



Keratoconus treatment varies depending on severity, ranging from corrective contact lenses and glasses to cross-linking surgery, and in severe cases with corneal transplants. Contact lenses are sometimes necessary post surgery.

Stop rubbing your eyes. In addition to causing trauma and being linked to keratoconus, it can also spread infections and cause other types of trauma such as ruptured eye vessels. If there is a foreign body irritating the eye, rubbing may cause corneal abrasion or laceration.

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Common Questions

Yes, rubbing the eyes can be harmful to the cornea. It can cause distortions, exacerbate existing conditions like keratoconus, and potentially lead to other eye issues. An eye doctor would advise against excessive eye rubbing and recommend proper eye care practices.
Stopping the habit of eye rubbing can be essential for someone with keratoconus. Techniques might include using artificial tears for dryness, avoiding allergens, and following the guidance of a keratoconus specialist or optometrist. Regular contact lens exams and consultations can provide personalized advice and care.
Chronic eye rubbing can contribute to the progression of keratoconus, a condition that affects the shape of the cornea. Consultation with a keratoconus specialist is crucial if you are experiencing symptoms to establish proper care and management strategies.
Rubbing the eyes too much can lead to a variety of problems, including corneal distortion, exacerbation of keratoconus, or even infections. It can also cause broken blood vessels and wrinkles around the eyes. An optometrist would recommend avoiding this habit and may provide appropriate care and guidance to mitigate the associated risks.
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Can Eye-rubbing Cause Keratoconus?

Eye rubbing has been linked with this eye disease which affects the cornea’s shape causing distorted and impaired vision.  Although it looks harmless,  the damage caused by eye-rubbing is real. It can be an indication of a more serious complication, and may ultimately lead to this condition. If you are excessively rubbing your eye, please try to stop doing it, and contact an optometrist to schedule an appointment. To schedule an eye exam, please reach out to your nearest Amplify EyeCare practice either via a call or in-person visit. Our team of eye care professionals is ready and equipped to provide you with the care you need.

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