Often many patients who visit wash their eyes daily with water based on the practice followed by their ancestors or other family members and friends.
Is this necessary? Let’s understand.
The idea behind washing eyes with water appears to be to clean the eyes and remove dust/dirt, feel fresh and cool in hot weather etc.
The fact is, eyes clean themselves every minute through tear exchange during blinking which happens about 12-16 times per minute and so there is no need for additional cleaning. To feel cool in hot weather, one can always clean face with their eyes closed
Is there any harm in washing?
Yes. The tear fluid has a special composition friendly for the eye surface. Its pH, osmolarity, antimicrobial property, etc. gets disturbed by putting water or drops in the eyes. Water coming down from the overhead tank into tap or wash basin may be containing bacteria, fungus, parasites, etc. of serious nature. It can also contain other impurities. So there can be a risk of infections or irritation of the eye.
So eyes should never be washed?
The only situation when eye should be profusely washed with water or any sterile liquid like sodium chloride bottle is when some chemical falls in the eye. Do not wait for anything and wash the affected eye with lot of water even before contacting a doctor. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!