Eye Rubbing Due to Eye Lashes Poking The Eye


When you asked keratoconus patients, almost all would say that they indeed had a history of eye rubbing.  I always tell patients that the eyeball is similar to a bread, when you try to use your hand to squeeze the bread, some portion will be dented.  Similar to it, the cornea, when rubbed may be dented in one area.  The difference in the curvature produced by eye rubbing can lead to astigmatism.  Eye rubbing can produce surface irregularity on the cornea and triggers keratoconus in some susceptible patients.  

Why do patients rub their eyes?  Eyes can be itchy due to allergies.  When allergies are found, it is important to rule out the cause and manage it well. Anti-histamine medicines can be taken, but if the allergy is only found on the eye,  then anti-histamine drops can be used to control the itchiness.   Sometimes, mechanical issues such as eyelashes growing inwards (photo above), which poke the cornea can cause the eye to be irritated.  Irritation of course will lead to patients rubbing their eyes more.  A quick check with an optometrist can rule this out.  How to manage this?  If the rebel lashes are just a couple, then they can just be plucked out, however if there are more, we can consider:  soft contact lens wear to protect the eye; Or in some cases lid surgery to correct the position of the growth.    Be reminded though that sometimes, plucking of the lashes has to be done regularly as the lashes may still grow the same way.  If you see your kids starting to blink more frequently or rub their eyes more,  bring them  to your friendly optometrist so you will be advised of what to do to manage the condition. 

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