– Why, after rubbing your eyes, it takes a few seconds for your vision to return but not when you hold them closed?


I was rubbing my eyes (hay fever season) and I noticed it took a good 2-3 seconds for my vision to return. I then tried holding them closed tightly and then opening and my vision is instantly there. What’s happening to your eyeballs when you rub them to cause you to lose vision?

In: Biology


If you rub too hard, you can disrupt the tear film that covers your eyes. Your eyes work the best when there is a uniform coating of tears over it. When the film gets displaced by rubbing, things will look blurry until you blink a few times to restore the tear film. People with dry eye have a hard time restoring their tear films.

Also if you rub really hard, you can cause pressure changes within the fluid in the eye. This can cause misfires in the light sensitive cells of your eyes which can take a few seconds or longer for your vision to return to a normal state. Make sure you are not rubbing this hard since it can cause permanent damage to your eye sight. Glaucoma, an eye disease that causes blindness, can be caused by too much eye pressure over long periods of time.

A side note about this effect. A lot of famous artists used to draw the shapes and figures that’d see when doing this. I believe Leonardo da Vinci, and Salvador Dali

Don’t rub! You can damage your eyes. Ask me how I know. If you have hay fever just carry eye drops and get pretty instant relief!

Tears and uniformity is not correct answer, the truth is your eyeballs are made of strong collagens and tissue but it is not like glass or something, when you rub them hard you actually make horizontal diameter (distance between your iris and the retina [which the light is focused]) shorter. So the focused image is forming behind the retina, you effectively make yourself hypertrophy for a couple seconds until your eyeballs kinda like reshape itself like a tennis ball. That isnt the case you tightly close your eyes, because no matter how hard you close your eyes, it wont apply force to your eyeballs towards iris/retina and thus wont “squeeze” it.