Based on the latest data from the Gutenberg Health Study, it's estimated that keratoconus affects 1 in every 200 Caucasians. This suggests that more than 650,000 Caucasian Americans could be living with this eye condition.

At Amplify EyeCare, we often receive questions from our patients that spark important conversations about eye health. One such question that recently came up is about the relationship between eye rubbing and keratoconus—a topic that deserves thorough discussion and understanding. Whether you're a parent, someone who habitually rubs their eyes, or just concerned about maintaining optimal eye health, this blog aims to provide you with comprehensive information backed by research. Let's delve into the crucial link between eye rubbing and the development of keratoconus, and what you can do to protect your eyes.

Is Rubbing Your Eyes Really Associated With Keratoconus?

Yes, eye rubbing is indeed associated with keratoconus. Studies have shown that frequent eye rubbing can be a significant factor that leads to the development of this eye condition. The risk is particularly high among kids.

Why Does Eye Rubbing Affect the Cornea?

When you rub your eyes, whether it's due to irritation or blurry vision, you are actually altering the structure of the collagen tissue in your cornea. The cornea is the clear, dome-shaped part on the surface of your eye. By rubbing it, you can distort its shape, making it more cone-like, which essentially is what keratoconus is all about.

The Consequences: What Happens When Keratoconus Develops?

When keratoconus progresses, patients can experience a variety of symptoms that go beyond just blurred vision and light sensitivity. Here are some of the common symptoms you should be aware of:

  • Blurred vision: A general lack of sharpness in your visual field.
  • Light sensitivity: Experiencing discomfort or pain when exposed to light.
  • Visual distortions: Objects may appear wavy, bent, or otherwise distorted.
  • Frequent prescription changes: Regularly needing to update your eyeglasses or contact lenses due to changing vision.
  • Difficulty with night vision: Struggling to see clearly in low-light conditions, such as while driving at night.
  • Double vision in one eye: Seeing two images instead of one, even without the interference of the other eye.
  • Halo and glare around lights: Seeing halos or glare when looking at bright lights, particularly problematic when driving at night.
  • Intolerance to contact lenses: Finding it increasingly difficult to wear contact lenses comfortably due to the changing shape of the cornea.

These symptoms can impact your day-to-day life significantly, making tasks like reading, driving, and even recognizing faces challenging. Early diagnosis and intervention are crucial for better management of keratoconus.

Why Kids Shouldn't Rub Their Eyes

Children are more susceptible to developing keratoconus, particularly if they rub their eyes frequently to relieve itching or clear up blurry vision. Since the condition often starts during puberty, it's crucial to educate kids early on about the risks associated with eye rubbing.

Delayed Diagnosis Means Delayed Treatment

Sometimes keratoconus may not be diagnosed early, especially in children. This leads to delayed treatment and can result in the worsening of symptoms. Therefore, if you notice frequent eye rubbing in kids, consult an eye care professional immediately.

Takeaway: Be Mindful of Your Eye Health

Eye rubbing is an activity that should be avoided by everyone—both kids and adults alike—to minimize the risk of developing keratoconus. If you or your child experience symptoms like blurry vision, itching, or irritation, it's essential to consult an eye care professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Schedule with eye doctors for an eye exam for keratoconus by visiting our reputable optometry clinic in Valencia, attracting patients from nearby Santa Clarita, Palmdale, and San Fernando Valley. Call (661) 775-1860 or fill out this form to make an appointment today.
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