Ask an Eye M.D. Answer Archive

Please read our important medical disclaimer.

Question:
For the past week or so I have been excessively rubbing my left eye for some reason. I think it’s a nervous habit. I don’t know how many times I’ve done it but it’s quite a bit. But I am now worried that the rubbing I have done is enough to cause keratoconus (a cornea that becomes thin and misshapened over time). Is it possible that I can get this from the rubbing I have done?

Answer:
Eye rubbing is a risk factor for development of keratoconus. Certain individuals (for example younger people and those with connective tissue disorders such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and osteogenesis imperfecta) are more susceptible to the effects of eye rubbing. You should see your ophthalmologist to see if you are at risk for keratoconus and if the eye rubbing is due to an underlying eye disease such as atopic or allergic conjunctivitis (swelling and inflammation of the whites of the eye, also known as pink eye). If you are developing changes consistent with keratoconus, you should stop rubbing your eyes immediately and talk with your ophthalmologist about your condition.

Answered by: Omar R. Chaudhary, MD Dr. Omar R. Chaudhary

Categories: Eye Diseases

Have a question that hasn't been answered yet? Ask it!

Answered: Feb 21, 2014

Pop needs to be configured.