When your eyes are tired, itchy or read it can be tempting to rub them. In fact, rubbing them can cause your eyes to tear up as a protective action, thus adding more lubricant and reducing the itch. However, putting pressure on your eyes is never a good habit to get into.
No matter how often you wash your hands, you have bacteria on your fingers. It may be only your personal bacteria but it’s not a good idea to transfer it to your eyes. The skin on your hands is dry. If you move that bacteria to your moist eye tissue, it could cause an overgrowth of bacteria, also known as an infection.
A rare but dangerous problem caused by rubbing your eyes is called keratoconus. Those who develop this condition suffer from a weak, poorly shaped cornea that can ultimately damage your ability to see. Rather than rubbing your eyes to address dryness, itchiness or tiredness, try the exercises below.
Ways to Naturally Moisten Your Eyes
1) If you have a problem rubbing your eyes habitually or without thinking about it, put a small rubber band on your wrist. When you reach for your eyes, snap the rubber band instead. Then sit back from whatever you’re doing and take ten seconds. Blink and hold your eyes closed for one second, then open your eyes. Do this five times. Blink consciously, completely and hard to fully bathe your eyes in naturally produced tears.
2) If dry eyes persist, rather than rubbing over the gap between upper and lower lids, gently massage the lower lids up. This may not work for those who wear contact lenses. Don’t apply much pressure. Functionally all you’re doing is using the lower lid to serve as a buffer while you move moisture up over the eyeball. Because you’ve got dry fingers pressing on a dry lower lid, you’re at less risk of transferring bacteria to a moist environment. This lower lid massage is also a great way to get rid of any foreign materials in your eye.
3) Chamomile tea has great anti-inflammatory properties. Brew up a cup of pure chamomile tea and cool it in the refrigerator. Soak a clean cotton pad in the cooled tea and place it over your closed eye. Lay back and relax for fifteen minutes. If your eye is still inflamed, do this again with a fresh cotton pad.
For those who can’t tolerate cold liquid on your eyes, you can do this therapy with warm fennel tea. If you can’t find fennel tea, just use 1 tsp of dried fennel and one cup of boiling water. Let the tea steep for 15 minutes and strain away from the herbs. Let this liquid cool to lukewarm, then apply it with clean cotton pads for ten minutes.
Use a timer when applying teas to your eyes so you don’t fall asleep and leave the pads on your eyes for too long.
If you have a problem rubbing your eyes and need to break this habit, start with dedicated blinking. If the dryness persists, consider talking to your doctor to make sure that your tear ducts are working properly.