We all rub our eyes from time to time, but ophthalmology company Glaukos is urging people to think twice before doing so in a recently launched campaign.

As part of its The Rub effort, the company is raising awareness about keratoconus (KC), an underdiagnosed eye condition that involves the cornea thinning and bulging.

The Rub draws attention to the action of rubbing your eyes — something that can be both a cause and a symptom of the condition. Because it’s not well-known that rubbing your eyes can be associated with the disease, Glaukos wants people who are more likely to develop the condition — especially people between the ages of 14 and 35 — to know the signs and symptoms.

“Plain and simple, early diagnosis and treatment of keratoconus can save your vision from significant damage before it is too late,” the company noted in a news release.

The campaign features a dedicated website that starts out with a quiz to see if your symptoms may be KC. The quiz asks if you find yourself rubbing your eyes frequently, if you have blurry vision or have trouble seeing clearly. 

The quiz then suggests you visit a doctor if you score a “Yes — It could be KC.” The website also provides a search tool to help patients find a doctor.

The main feature of KC involves a thin and cone-shaped cornea that appears to be bulging. This prevents light that enters the eye from correctly reaching the retina and can lead to vision problems and blurriness, according to the American Optometric Association. KC can be hereditary, but it can also simply be caused by aggressive rubbing of the eyes.

The Rub hones in on some of the most common symptoms, which it notes can sometimes be subtle in nature. Those include frequent changes in vision, a greater sensitivity to light, distorted vision and progressive astigmatism.

Glaukos is drawing attention to the campaign as May is Healthy Vision Month, with other pharma companies hoping to take advantage of that as well. Tarsus Pharmaceuticals recently launched a campaign for demodex blepharitis, an eye condition caused by demodex mites.

The campaign strikes a similar tune as Tarsus Pharmaceuticals’ recent Don’t Freak Out, Get Checked Out campaign. Both efforts encourage patients to be aware of the symptoms of under-the-radar eye condition and be ready to get checked out by a doctor to seek earlier treatment.

Glaukos notes in its campaign announcement that a person’s vision may continue to get worse, so early detection matters. 

“With a diagnosis, you can take action sooner rather than later,” the company stated.

To read a February 2024 article on Glaukos educating young patients about keratoconus risks in a YouTube series, click here.