Fingertip Knuckle Fingernail eye rubbing

Eye rubbing and keratoconus: the forces applied when rubbing eyes

It’s clear that there is a link between eye rubbing and keratoconus. Eye rubbing can alter the strength of the cornea, which can cause keratoconus to progress, but there is some controversy regarding whether it causes keratoconus. To answer the latter question, the first step in trying to understand whether eye rubbing can cause keratoconus, is to first understand much force eye rubbing applies to your eyes – something that was previously unknown.

ELZA’s surgeons, researchers, and its colleagues decided to measure the mechanical forces applied to the eyelids when people rub their eyes, and the results of their investigation have been published in the journal, BMC Ophthalmology (1).

People rub their eyes in three different ways: with their fingertips, their knuckles, and with their fingernails. We found that of the 57 patients we examined, 51% were fingertip rubbers, 44% were knuckle rubbers, and the remaining 6% were fingernail rubbers. When we measured how much force was applied during rubbing, we found that, on average, knuckle rubbing applied significantly more force to the eyelids (9.6 N) than fingertip rubbing (4.3 N) or fingernail rubbing (2.6 N). In other words, knuckle-rubbing applies 2.2 and 3.7 times more force to the eyelid (and through that, the cornea underneath) than fingertip or fingernail rubbing.

 

Eye rubbing with fingertips

Eye rubbing with knuckles

The reason why we wished to obtain this knowledge was to incorporate it into our ongoing research in building an experimental rubbing model, which aims to investigate the effect of repeated rubbing of the eye on the strength of the cornea, and whether there is any correlation between the ways people rub their eyes, the force applied, and how many times a cornea needs to be rubbed before the cornea becomes weakened. This experimental work will be the first step in answering the question, once and for all, if eye rubbing and keratoconus development – not just progression – are linked.

To read the paper, click on the image below:

BMC Eye Rubbing Cover

Reference

  1. Hafezi F, Hafezi NL, Pajic B, et al. Assessment of the mechanical forces applied during eye rubbing. BMC Ophthalmol. 2020;20(1):301.

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Augeninstitut ELZA
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Thomas S.
Thomas S.
09:37 07 Jul 21
My left eye had to be operated on because of a cataract. As I had an Artiflex lens implanted a few years ago, it had to... be removed first before a modern lens could be implanted to correct the cataract. Prof. Hafezi treated me in an very competent and friendly manner. I am very happy with the result.read more
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Steven H.A
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Prof. F. Hafezi s expertise is enormous and he has a very pleasant and calm nature which gives the patient... security.Thank youread more
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Totally creepy, very arrogant Prof.He just want your money.It may explain, why this Prof. is not in the center of the... city of Zürich and why he has been thrown away from University of Geneva.read more
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Elena Churilova
10:06 17 Nov 20
At the moment, 3 months have passed since the moment I made laser vision correction in this clinic. and I can say that... I am happy that I chose this particular clinic and Prof. F. Hafezi. The entire staff of the clinic is very friendly, treats patients with sympathy and patience if they are nervous before surgery (my big gratitude to Aida Alili for all support and patience). The doctor Hafezi and other doctors of the clinic are very professional and ready to explain to you as many times as you need. I can only recommend!read more
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