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Why Do We Rub Our Eyes When Tired?

Your baby rubs his eyes when he’s tired. Your toddler and older kids do too. But, it doesn’t stop there. We all have the urge to rub our eyes when we’re tired. But why? Why do we rub our eyes when tired and need our beauty rest? Today is the day you’ll find out!

How Rubbing Eyes Help with Tiredness

Rubbing your eyes feels “oh so good” when you’re tired, and your eyes feel irritated. When you rub your eyes, it encourages tears to come from the lacrimal glands, which helps wet your eyes and relieve some irritation.

Putting pressure on your eyes not only lubricates them but also stimulates the vagus nerve. Once this happens, your heart rate slows, telling your body it’s time to sleep. So rubbing our eyes is relaxing us and preparing us for bed. Amazing right?

Is Rubbing Eyes Safe?

Although it feels good to rub your eyes, it’s not the best thing for your eyes. Your hands have all kinds of germs and dirt on them. Rubbing your eyes can introduce those things into your eyes and cause infections or permanently scratch your eye lens. Even worse, it could cause retinal detachment.

Besides the harm you can do to your eyes, you can also cause damage to the skin around your eyes. For example, when you rub your eyes, you stretch the skin causing droopy eyelids and maybe even bursting small blood vessels under the sensitive skin beneath your eyes, making them appear dark in color.

Why Do My Eyes Itch?

Itchy eyes happen for many reasons. Your eyes could be irritated by seasonal allergies, your friend’s dog, or just from dryness. An infection could also be the cause, so make sure to talk with your doctor about any continual eye itchiness you may have.

Why Should You Never Rub Your Eyes?

While rubbing your eyes is a natural action, especially when you’re tired, you should try to avoid rubbing your eyes to prevent infections and permanent damage to your eyes.

If possible, when you have the urge to rub your eyes, try laying a damp washcloth across your eyes for a few minutes for relief. Also, if you think your eyes are itchy because of allergies, talk to your doctor about what allergy medication you can take to help alleviate the need for constantly itching your eyes.

What If You Can’t Stop Rubbing Your Eyes?

If you have tried the suggestions above and still cannot find any relief, make sure to talk to your primary care physician and your eye doctor about what you’re experiencing. They can help you figure out the cause and treatment options that can provide you with the relief you need.

The eye specialists at Vision Boutique would love to help with any eye issues, questions like “why do we rub our eyes when tired?” and more. We look forward to helping our patients find ways to achieve healthy vision habits in their lives for years to come. Schedule an appointment today.


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