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Toddler Eye Rubbing: 4 Reasons Why It Could Be Happening

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Do you notice your toddler rubbing their eyes often? If so, it's time to take notice. Eye rubbing doesn't have to set off alarm bells, but it is an indication that something is happening. Learn more about some of the situations that might lead to this problem.

1. Typical Behavior

The reason for your child's eye rubbing could be as simple as typical, age-appropriate, behavior. For example, it's not uncommon for little ones to rub their eyes to stay awake and alert or to help relieve the pressure caused by forcing their eyes to stay open when the child is sleepy and their eyes want to close. Some children even rub their eyes after they cry. Pay attention to any patterns your child displays. 

2. Allergies

Allergies target toddlers in the same way they do older children and adults. With seasonal allergies, your child might experience watery and itchy eyes, and they'll use rubbing as a way to alleviate some of the discomfort these symptoms cause. If you suspect your child has allergies, you might notice some additional symptoms, such as nasal congestion and sneezing. If you think your child is suffering from allergies, be sure to make a medical appointment for an official diagnosis. 

3. Dry Eyes

Dry eyes are thought to be an eye condition that targets adults, but the truth is that it affects people of every age. Dry eyes can irritate and, in some instances, cause eye pain, which can make your little one quite uncomfortable. Children will typically rub their eyes in response as a way to soothe the soreness. Congenital disorders, Type 1 diabetes, and inflammatory conditions are just some of the culprits of dry eyes in young children. Visit an eye doctor for a complete workup and to begin a treatment plan for your child.  

4. Vision Concerns

A common reason for eye rubbing around this age is a vision concern. Typically, if the images a child sees are blurred, it's natural for the child to rub the eyes to try and correct what it is they are seeing. The only problem is that the rubbing doesn't help, so the child keeps doing it. Even if your child passed the vision portion of the exam at their last well-child visit, it doesn't mean that a vision problem can't surface later. You'll need to have the child's eye examined.

If you are concerned about your child's eye health, it's always best to address these concerns with a medical professional. Make an appointment with an eye doctor to learn more.