Why it is better to avoid rubbing your eyes too much – Ouest-France evening edition

Fatigue, pollution, or simply because you cut an onion… When you have itchy eyes, it’s hard to resist the urge to rub them. This gesture, which seems innocuous, can nevertheless have consequences on health. Explanations with Laurence Desjardins, director of the French Society of Ophthalmology.

Because of fatigue, pollution or even because you’re peeling an onion… Sometimes it’s hard to resist the urge to rub your eyes. This seemingly innocuous gesture can still have health consequences. Performed too often, either with the knuckles or with a clenched fist, it can be harmful to the eyes. “You should avoid rubbing your eyes with your fingers because they are not necessarily very clean, explains Laurence Desjardins, ophthalmologist and administrative and scientific director of the French Society of Ophthalmology. By doing this, patients risk causing conjunctivitis by depositing microbes in the conjunctiva, which is the membrane that covers the white part of the eye and the inside of the eyelids. »

This infection is mainly bacterial or viral and is transmitted by touching the eyes. But for Laurence Desjardins, the real problem of eye rubbing is mainly due “eyelid hygiene”.

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“Lather up by gently massaging the eyelids”

“In case of poor eyelid hygiene, the sebaceous glands present in the eyelids can become infected. Many people tend to never wash their eyelids. Why ? Because they are afraid to put soap at eye level, emphasizes the specialist. When you take a shower, I recommend soaping up, gently massaging your eyelids, and of course with your eyes closed. »

A technique that avoids blepharitis, these inflammations of the edge of the eyelids, according to Laurence Desjardins. “These are quite common in the elderly, she notes. Often it is due to the presence of staphylococcus type germs in the sebaceous glands, which cause micro-infections in the lacrimal gland. Eventually, this can lead to inflammation of the eyelids and lead to discomfort there. »

Another problem that can be caused by excessively repeated rubbing of the eyes: scratching of the cornea. “This erosion of the cornea can be caused after rubbing the eye in the presence of a foreign body or occur after a scratch with a fingernail or a branch”, details on its website the Laser Vision Institute, located in Paris (Ile-de-France).

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How to properly clean your eyes?

Rubbing your eyes is therefore not as innocuous a gesture as one might think. How can you resist the urge to raise your hands to your eyelids when your eyes are itchy? “Blink them several times to promote the distribution of tear fluid on the surface of the cornea », advises the Parisian establishment.

For her part, Laurence Desjardins believes that the best solution for eye hygiene is to use ” physiological serum “. “Patients can also try artificial tears, but it’s less simple. They must also ensure good hygiene of the eyelids by not forgetting them in the shower. »

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