I watched my toddler son recently rub his eyes when he was tired. He has been doing it even as a relative newborn and therefore it has to be instinctual. But why do we rub our eyes?
Why Do We Rub Our Eyes?
When we are tired, we tend to be blinking less trying to keep ourselves awake. This in turn, dries out our eyeballs (our corneas). When we rub them, we massage the eyelids and the lacrimal gland – the tear producing gland. We then massage those tears over our eyes, cleaning the dirt from the air off the lenses. Second, when we rub our eyes, we are putting pressure on the eyeballs themselves, transmitting a signal to the vagus nerve. This nerve sends a signal to your heart to slow. In essence, by rubbing the eyes, we are relaxing ourselves, making us more ready for sleep.
Why We Should Not Rub Our Eyes
Our eyelids blink 10,000 per day, which means we stretch them 10,000 per day. Over the years, this stretching leads more skin laxity and droopy eyelids. Rubbing the eyelids with our fingers is helping speed up the process of stretching the skin. This may make droopy eyelid appearance come more quickly. The good news is that a blepharoplasty can remove this excess skin if needed, but it might have been nice to delay the need for surgery for a few more years. Eye rubbing can also cause other issues including infection and issues with the lenses of the eye.
Why Do My Eyes Itch?
Your eyes may itch for many reasons. First, people with seasonal allergies often get itchy eyes as the pollen or other irritant causes irritation of the eyeball. Second, you may have dry eye. Many people suffer from dry eye, and it often worsens as we age. Third, an infection can make the eyes itch such as pink eye (conjunctivitis). There are other inflammatory conditions that also involve the eye as well.
Does Blepharoplasty Cause Dry Eye?
Some patients can have dry eye after blepharoplasty. Dr. Eric Carniol and Dr. Paul Carniol will discuss with you any history of dry eye issues. As well, he will discuss treatment options for you. All patients are prescribed eye drops and eye ointment for after surgery to take care of the eyes as they are healing.