How do germs get to your eyes?

Have you ever rubbed your eyes? It isn’t the most unheard of thing. You’ve probably been tired at one point, or felt that calling itch, or gotten some sort of irritable substance in your eye, the instinctual fix is to rub it isn’t it? Doing that is a fantastic way for germs to spread from your fingers to your eyes.

There are microorganisms that are living on your skin at all times. The microscopic ecosystem is known as “skin flora” and there are thousands of species of bacteria, viruses, and other germs. Whilst many are helpful to your body and take care of us, some others could lead to serious disease or infection. Some of those just need you to do one thing to start hurting you, get into your eyes. Beyond your skin flora, your hands hold a whole assortment of germs from everything else you’ve touched. Whether it be a cup from home or gum off of the ground,  a whole army of germs have made their way into the microscopic ecosystem on your skin. Your hand will never be clean, so keep it away from your eyes.

Eyes are much more vulnerable than skin to those dangerous germs. The built-in defenses they have are eyelashes, blinking, and a drainage system that will take any germs or debris away in case they ever make it to the surface. Your eyes have a good defense system for most situations of smaller debris trying to fly in on the wind. When we rub your eyes, however, we can actually damage the cornea and give the natives of your skin flora can make their way into your eyes and cause infection or disease. It is a battering ram of sorts for the militia of germs sitting on your hands.

Despite the dangers of it, there are situations in which touching your eyes is necessary. Wearing contact lenses obviously requires you to touch your eyes. Even in these situations, caution should be taken to make as little contact as possible. Also make sure to keep your fingernails trimmed. There are all sorts of germs, bacteria, and debris that sit under them from all the things you touch. It is almost impossible to clean your fingernails as they grow longer. To show you how important this is, the germs that collect under fingernails is the TOP reason that medical professionals wear gloves while they interact with patients. Even with fake nails, the same germs and debris can get caught— meaning they require the same amount of caution.

If germs have made their way into your eye and you are worried about infection, be sure to visit your local optometry! If you have any symptoms such as redness, itchiness, burning, or eye watering, your eye may have been infected.

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