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Rubbing eyes with keratoconus
Is rubbing the eyes harmful?
People with keratoconus have a thinner and weaker cornea than normal. This congenital condition can thin and deform the cornea. A local thinning causes a cone-shaped bulge of the cornea. This thinning is typically shifted slightly downward from the center and towards the ear. The cone formation starts with thinning of the cornea, after which the inside of the cornea deforms first. At a later stage, the front of the cornea also begins to deform. When the front of the cornea deforms, vision loss is noticed more quickly. Because the deformation is gradual and slow, the brain gets used to the reduced vision.
The answer to the question of why people rub their eyes is actually quite simple. They do it because the eyes itch. However, rubbing the eyes only makes the itching worse and you can hardly stop rubbing afterwards. Itchy eyes are often caused by allergies. People with keratoconus often suffer from allergies. You will tend to rub your eyes, especially in the morning or at the end of the day.
Is it okay to rub the eye?
Rubbing the eyes is very bad for keratoconus patients. Research has shown that rubbing the eyes causes progression of the keratoconus.
So stop rubbing.
If you have itchy eyes and want to rub the eyes as a result, it is better to do so on the hard lower eye socket edge rather than on or in the eyes themselves. The ophthalmologist may prescribe antihistamine eye drops to reduce the itching. The dripping of artificial tears can also reduce the itching.