We’ve all had itchy eyes before. Eyes are a sensitive part of the body and when an irritant starts to wreak havoc on these organs, the temptation to close our eyelids and rub vigorously is very strong. After all, when itches appear elsewhere on our body, a little scratching or rubbing now and then won’t usually cause any damage. When it comes to eyes, however, the rules are a little different. You should avoid rubbing your eyes as much as you can, because several problems can result. These issues can range from mild to destructive.

Worsened dark circles

Rubbing your eyes frequently can exacerbate and even cause those unsightly circles that sometimes manifest around our eyes. Typically these dark circles show up when you are tired, anemic, or suffering from allergies, but rubbing your eyes can also be the culprit. If you’re trying to lessen dark circles, you’ll want to avoid eye rubbing. The skin on and around your eyelids is some of the thinnest on your body, and very susceptible to damage.

Corneal damage

This is one of the more serious side effects of frequent eye rubbing. If you’re too harsh on your eyes, you can scratch your cornea. Corneal abrasions can be very serious. If improperly treated or ignored they can permanently damage vision or eye health.


Rubbing or even touching your eyes or eyelids puts you at a greater risk for developing eye infections. Millions of germs, bacteria and other microscopic debris cling to our fingers, even when we regularly wash our hands. Rubbing your eyes transfers these harmful germs to your eyes. Touching or rubbing your eyes can result in infections ranging from mildly annoying, like conjunctivitis, to severely dangerous, like e.coli or streptococcus. 


If you rub your eyes as a result of allergies, you will actually make the problem worse. For the first few seconds, rubbing your eyes will bring you relief as you stimulate tears that lubricate the eye. However, rubbing your eyes also stimulates the release of even more histamines, and that will ultimately make your eyes itchier and more uncomfortable than before. If you feel like your eyes are far itchier than they should be, don’t give in to the temptation to rub. Instead, schedule a consultation with your eye doctor to get to the cause of your discomfort.

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