An age-old saying about not rubbing your eyes has been confirmed as good advice, according to the Cornea Research Foundation of America (CRFA).
Discussing the condition keratoconus, a degenerative disorder of the cornea, the organisation started out by saying a mother - or indeed any parent - could be right to stop their child getting into the eye-rubbing habit.
The CRFA is currently involved in a clinical trial for a new treatment - called corneal collagen cross-linking - for keratoconus along with several other institutions in America.
Keratoconus is presently treated with glasses or hard contact lenses, though patients also have the option of trying a new procedure that inserts plastic rings into the mid-layer of the cornea to modify its shape.
However, it noted that in "15 per cent to 20 per cent of the cases, cornea transplant surgery is necessary".
Beauty experts have long-advised not rubbing eyes, as the delicate surrounding skin may be stretched and develop lines or bags.
In addition, people who wear contact lenses might inadvertently dislodge them by rubbing too hard.
by Adrian Galbreth