Don’t Rub Your Eyes!
It’s a simple message, but it will save sight. All ophthalmologists should help spread the word!
Renato Ambrósio Jr. |
At a Glance
- Rubbing your eyes is bad.
- Some say eye rubbing is the cause of keratoconus, others say it just reveals and exacerbates it.
- There is total consensus on one matter: eye rubbing is bad – and our patients need to know.
- The “Don’t Rub Your Eyes” message needs to become part of our cultural heritage – like carrots being good for night vision. Spread the word!
What corneal and refractive surgeons can do is incredible. I can imagine going back in time and telling my father who was a pioneer in refractive surgery in Brazil but passed away prematurely in 1994, what we can routinely do and achieve today – safely, with reproducibly great outcomes – thanks to the corneal imaging and advanced laser technologies that we have at our disposal. Would a surgeon from the 1980s believe you if you told them that you could help patients with corneal ectasias by selectively ablating the cornea with a laser? Or that we could halt corneal ectasias with UV light and vitamin B2? And yet, that’s what we’re able to do today. But we have to be clear about what we’re doing for these patients, and why. Treating diseased corneas is a whole different world from enabling patients to throw away their spectacles and contact lenses.
While there are no guarantees or risk-free procedures in Medicine, I wrote an editorial in the Brazilian Journal of Ophthalmology (RBO) back in 2013 (1), stating that we must educate our patients and highlight the fundamental differences between elective (non-aesthetic) treatments with a refractive purpose, and those for the visual rehabilitation of patients with corneal disease. For the latter, the education of patients and their families is fundamental to the success of your intervention, as it enables patients to manage their disease better, and it also helps them maintain realistic expectations of what treatment can achieve. We created a website in Portuguese for this very purpose: www.tudosobreceratocone.com.br.
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