The short answer is yes.
Why do some people get keratoconus? A lot of people think that allergies are the cause, but when statistics are done this condition is not significantly associated with keratoconus.
However, eye rubbing has been found to be associated with keratoconus. A number of years ago I co authored a paper with Charles McMonnies. We found evidence to further prove that eye rubbing can cause keratoconus. Basically, the eye that had the worst keratoconus was on the same side as the strongest hand. The strongest hand rubs the eye harder and changes the eye shape more.
There has been many studies showing that eye rubbing is significantly associated with keratoconus. In our clinical practice we strongly advise no eye rubbing, especially for people with signs of keratoconus.
The take home message from this blog is that if you have the diagnosis of keratoconus you should not rub your eyes. Make an appointment if you would like to discuss this further with us.
Alternatives to Eye Rubbing
Yes so I know it is not good to rub my eyes, BUT, my eyes are still itchy. What can I do to reduce the urge to rub. There are a number of methods recommended . What we find works best is Cold compress. Here you apply a, cold, damp face cloth to the eyes . This relieves the burning sensation that you are feeling.
Pinch your nose at eye level, making sure you do not push on the eyes. This helps relieves the symptoms also. Use drops that reduce itch. Zaditen is a great drop if your eyes are itchy. A new drop is Cromo Fresh which helps prevent the release of histamine the chemical that causes a lot of the allergy symptoms. We are trying this out and the few ‘tests’ that we have done have been positive Give us a call if you would like to further discuss these methods