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Potential Health Hazards of Wearing a Tie

Fashion Health Hazards

Aside from the chemicals or items used in fashion today, most people don't think about garments or products themselves as actually being a health hazard--in and of themselves.

However, studies now show that items that we insist on wearing, like women's killer high heels, baggy pants or even tight jeans can have health repercussions. But the lowly necktie?

One would think that the tie as a fashion accessory would be exempt from the list of harmful things you can wear but not so.

There are actually several health hazards associated with tie wear and some of them are quite serious.


Wearing tight neckties is one of many fashion health hazards.

Wearing tight neckties is one of many fashion health hazards.

Health Risks of Wearing a Necktie

Wearing a tie has become synonymous with white collar jobs. The necktie is also becoming more and more a part of women's attire as they climb the corporate ladder.

Members of both sexes wear all different types and styles of ties and some would say the tighter and "nattier" they are, the better they look.

But does wearing a necktie put you at increased risk for certain health problems?

Unbelievably it does. In some cases, it is not so much the tie itself but rather how it is tied or even the degree of tightness.

It also has to do with the way someone's neck is--is it thin, is it fat or thick?

Another factor is the collar itself--if a collar is too tight, it adds even more potential for harm.

Ways wearing a tie can be hazardous to your health

  • If you work around machinery--there is a very real risk of getting a tie caught in gears or other parts of machinery which can lead to tragic events.

    Solution: Wear a clip-on or a bow tie--it could save your life or prevent serious injury as it will most likely pull off (if a clip-on) or not be an issue (bow tie).
  • Wearing a tie and being exposed to people with disease can lead to infections of all kinds. For instance if a doctor leans over a patient and his or her tie flops down onto the patient, when the physician walks away, he's carrying that bacteria or germs with him or her away on his tie.

    Solution: Wear a clip-on or a bow tie and cut out the germs.
  • Tight ties can cause a rise in intraocular pressure. Rises in intraocular pressures while not always indicative of glaucoma, is a risk factor for glaucoma.

    Loosen up--wear a loose fitting tie and collar, especially if you have a fat or thick neck.
  • Wearing tight ties can reduce blood flow to the brain, namely the cerebral vessels which are common locations for strokes especially in young males with no other risk factors. While it might be a stretch to think that ties could cause a stroke, it is thought by researchers to be a risk factor where no other history can explain a vascular insult.

    Wear a looser fitting tie or collar, a clip-on or a bow tie.
  • Neck and musculoskeletal base of skull pain and muscle contraction can result from wearing ties that are tied too tightly.

    Solution: Switch to a bow tie or clip-on or use a looser knot.


Can Tight Ties Cause Blindness?

While studies such as the 2003 British Journal of Ophthalmology study do not conclusively prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that tight neckties can cause glaucoma (the #1 cause of blindness in the world), they do point to tight necktie wear as a risk factor.

Studies have shown that wearing a tight necktie for only 5 minutes raises intraocular pressure substantially. This is because a tight tie or even a tight collar puts pressure on the jugular vein which in turn increases the pressure within the eye.

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There is no concrete evidence to support that prolonged tie wear in a too-tight state will cause someone to get glaucoma, but researchers do warn against the potential for it if the eye pressures remain elevated over long periods of time. The elevation in pressure itself is a highly volatile risk factor for someone to develop glaucoma, especially beyond the age of 40 or 50 and increasingly past 60 and 70.

Ophthalmologists and optometrists have started recommending that people coming in for eye exams should not wear tight fitting clothing or accessories around their necks for this same reason. The increased pressure on and constriction of the jugular vein may lead to falsely elevated eye pressures on glaucoma testing, which in turn may lead to a misdiagnosis.

So while there is no hardcore evidence at this time that wearing a tight tie will hurry you along to developing glaucoma, it definitely is being labeled a risk factor and something to be avoided.


How to Tie a Healthier Tie

There are many different ways to tie a tie--here are just a few.

Remember most of all---keep it loose!

Rule of thumb for pressure around your neck

  • You can insert 2 or 3 fingers between your collar, your tie, your jewelry, your scarf and your neck. This is a safe amount of pressure on your jugular vein.

Tight Scarves and Neckties

While neckties are the fashion accessory that has been targeted in most of these studies, this author would encourage including scarves and necklaces in these potential health hazards.

Most of the same principles apply including working around machinery, increasing intraocular pressures and wearing tight fitting clothes or jewelry around your neck.

Remember to remove any constricting garments before you go to see an eye doctor as it may falsely elevate your glaucoma test pressures which could lead to a diagnosis of glaucoma not truly present.

Consider the effects of tight clothing or accessories on the jugular vein, the largest vein in the neck which increases pressure in the brain and in the eye if compressed.

Be aware that if someone is unconscious or is having difficulty breathing or speaking, always check to see if their collar is too tight or if they are wearing a tie. Removing it or loosening it should be the first line of treatment.

For health reasons, wearing your tie loose might be a good preventative measure against increased intraocular pressure.

For health reasons, wearing your tie loose might be a good preventative measure against increased intraocular pressure.


Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on March 29, 2013:

Thanks, John--I agree--you always see them loosening the tie--there must be a definite correlation!

John R Wilsdon from Superior, Arizona on March 29, 2013:

What I find fascinating about this hub is that we almost always see on TV is paramedics loosening the tie or collar of a victim. It doesn't matter what

condition the fallen victim has succumbed to, the neck tie and collar are immediately untied. So, why would it surprise anyone that having a loosely fitting tie might be helpful? I never thought about. Actually, I hate ties. When I was teaching I wore one most of the time, but it was always a bit uncomfortable. Will remember the intraocular pressure; thank fully I will never have to wear a tie again! Voted up. Nice.

Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on October 29, 2012:

Rhonda--you are too kind~ Thanks for stopping by.

toknowinfo on October 29, 2012:

Hi Audrey, Who would have thunk it? You have a wonderful ability to make your hubs enjoyable to read, funny, and informative. I very much appreciate you!

Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on October 10, 2012:

Oh my, Dolores--I had no idea about Isadora Duncan's fate~ From a scarf--actually I had very long ties on my coat one year (which I later had removed! I was going up an escalator and one of them got caught in the steps....THAT was embarrassing and not a little frightening! I was stuck bent over trying to get it out of the steps and panicked out of my mind when some nice fellow merely leaned over and shut off the escalator where I was hunched over. Good grief--not laughing matters~ Thanks for the history and for stopping by!

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on October 10, 2012:

Hi Audrey - most men that I know rarely, if ever, clean their ties. Yuk, a germ host! And very long scarves are dangerous too. The great dancer Isadora Duncan lost her life to a long scarf back in the early part of the last century. While riding in an open car, her long scarf became entangled in the wheel and the rest was history, horribly.

Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on September 25, 2012:

How cute Virginia--what a great story~ Can just picture it...thanks for the chuckle.

Virginia Kearney from United States on September 25, 2012:

Love this Hub! Couldn't resist clicking on the title. When I met my husband in our mid-30s, he decided to impress me by taking me out to a French restaurant. He showed up wearing a suit and tie. Unfortunately, the tie (the only one he owned) was the same one he'd gotten for some formal event in 5th grade. It was, shall we say, a little short?! Luckily, he works at a job which doesn't require a tie!

Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on September 24, 2012:

Thanks Om for stopping by---I think that is a famous artist's rendition of a business fellow--but can't think of whose it is right now---but it does get the point across---eyes look a little glazed~~~ I personally wear ties all the time~ yeah right--but the point could be made for tight necklaces and scarves so beware~~

Ruchira-Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to add a thoughtful is surprising some of the things that can be dangerous if you think about them~

Om Paramapoonya on September 24, 2012:

Very interesting facts. I never thought of these disadvantages of wearing a tight necktie before....probably because I've never worn one! Also, I like that drawing of a man with a big forehead. He does look miserable but in a funny way.

Ruchira from United States on September 24, 2012:

Good and interesting hub. I agree ties can be choking hazard and can lead to some impairments.

Good solutions and interesting read :)

Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on September 24, 2012:

Indeed BJ--you never know~ Or someone will come out with an expandable automatic tie that as soon as your pressure goes up, it lessens the pressure--kind of like the military underwear that measure your BP and blood sugar levels~ It could happen!

drbj and sherry from south Florida on September 24, 2012:

What an interesting supposition, Audrey. We can well blind ourselves with a tie. Imagine! Great video, too. Tie manufacturers may have to begin including a warning label on the ties they produce. 'May be dangerous to your health.'

Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on September 23, 2012:

JPMC--Good point--tie clips~ And the cleansing---definitely great tips!

RF---Definitely a beautiful portrait though--but I thought the eyes went with what I was trying to get across~~

Thanks folks for stopping by.

JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on September 23, 2012:

Comfortable ties are a must. Also, tie clips seems to be a good idea. it reduces the chances of ties flapping around. And getting them cleaned regularly is also a good idea. :)

Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on September 23, 2012:

That's an amazing factlet about a possible glaucoma connection--- and, the guy in the Modigliani portrait certainly seems like he has his a little up tight.

I've always thought that neckties were a bad idea. Nice job on this!

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