About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

Even Rubbing Eyes can Lead to Glaucoma

by Gopalan on October 29, 2008 at 11:08 AM
Font : A-A+

 Even Rubbing Eyes can Lead to Glaucoma

Even such a normal activity like rubbing one's eyes could mean increased pressure, leading to glaucoma, doctors warn.

Wearing swim goggles, sleeping face down or doing a gym workout may all contribute to glaucoma and other pressure-related eye diseases, a new study has found.


"The fluid pressure inside the eye increases - or spikes - during many everyday activities," says Adjunct Professor Charles McMonnies, of the University of New South Wales School of Optometry and Vision Science, in a paper published in the journal Optometry and Vision Science.

"Eye rubbing, yoga head stands, weightlifting, sleeping face down, playing instruments like the trumpet and swimming laps are some of the many ways of causing eye pressure spikes," Professor McMonnies says.

Any touching of the eye through the eyelids raises pressure: light touch causes a small increase but firm touch can cause a spike three to five times normal pressure, he says.

Wiping a watery eye and removing eye make-up both increase eye pressure, partly because they involve eye closure combined with lid contact.

In the case of eye rubbing, the combined effects of eye closure and rubbing forces on the eye can raise pressure to very high levels; strong rubbing may raise pressure to 10 times normal levels.

"Normally these pressure spikes are of little consequence and healthy eyes appear to be unaffected by them. But eye-pressure spikes that are large, and/or last a long time, and/or occur frequently, may contribute to the progression of pressure-related eye diseases."

These diseases include glaucoma - which affects a large proportion of elderly people and can lead to blindness - and rapidly increasing myopia, or short-sightedness. Rarer pressure-related conditions include keratoconus, or conical cornea.

"Avoiding sleeping with the eyes in contact with a pillow or sleep mask may help to slow the progression of pressure-sensitive eye diseases," he says.

Professor McMonnies suggests modifying activities that may be dangerous, such as the following:

Lying down raises pressure and people who are at risk should always try to do their reading while in a sitting position;

Wiping watery tears from the eyes is best done with a tissue held to the corner of the eye and pressed gently against the nose so that lid contact is minimized. The tears can be drained without actually applying force to the eye through the lids;

Avoiding sleeping face down and pillow contact with the eyes is a good idea, but if sleeping on a side is preferred, avoiding any pillow contact on the eye lids is still important. Firmer pillows are easier to position appropriately to avoid eye contact;

If an eye rubbing habit is in response to itchy, dry, irritated eyes, treatment of the cause of the itch, dryness or irritation should be maintained faithfully. Preventing or controlling the itch is important so that the stimulus for rubbing can be avoided;

For some people who have been performing yoga headstands, a switch to any of the many other alternative yoga procedures that do not involve body inversion could be advisable.

The risk of disease progression increases with the size, duration and frequency of the pressure spike. Risk also increases with the number of years during which the activities causing the pressure spikes have been occurring.

Source: Medindia

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2021 - Fighting for Rights in the Post-COVID Era
Effect of Blood Group Type on COVID-19 Risk and Severity
Woman with Rare Spinal Cord Defect from Birth Sues Doctor
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Glaucoma Nervous Tic Eye Vision Blindness Facts Eye Redness Eye Pain Symptom Evaluation 

Recommended Reading
Thyroid Disorders may Boost Glaucoma Risk: Study
Thyroid disorders may boost the risk of developing the eye disease glaucoma, reveals research....
Eye Pain Symptom Evaluation
Eye pain usually follows trauma, eye infection or inflammation of the eye and the surrounding struct...
Eye Redness
Redness of the eye occurs due to the dilation of the blood vessels of the eye. It can occur due to e...
Glaucoma is a group of disorders involving the optic nerve, often associated with a rise in intraocu...
Nervous Tic
Trigeminal Neuralgia or tic douloureux is one of the most painful nervous system disorders that affe...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use