From a young age, you might have heard about all sorts of things that damage or strengthen our eyes. The truth, however, may be a little different. Here are some of the myths:
- Reading in dim light harms your vision”
Reading without proper lighting can cause your eyes to work a little harder than usual so they can focus on what you are reading. That can cause a slight strain, but no serious long-term damage is caused by reading in low light.
- Eating carrots will improve your eyesight.
This one is the most commonly told and commonly believed myth of all time. While carrots enrich our bodies with beta-carotene and Vitamin A, which is a vital nutrient for retinal health, it has little impact on changing your prescription itself. In fact, it is also true that more than the necessary amount of the nutrient can do more harm than good. Sure, we do not see a rabbit hopping around with reading glasses, but that could probably be a result of non-existent optometrists in the rabbit world.
- Sitting too close to the TV is bad for your eyes.
If your child is sitting close to the TV, their vision may need correction already, but sitting too close to the TV was not the cause.
- You only have to wear sunglasses on sunny days.
This is also not true. In fact, your eyes are still susceptible to damage from UV light even on cloudy days. UV light can have many damaging effects on the tissues of the eyes including keratitis, cataracts, macular degeneration and cancerous lesions on the eyelids. 80% of UV damage is done before the age of 18, so it is even more important for children to wear sunglasses outside, even on cloudy days.
- Wearing an old prescription makes your vision worse.
Your vision can change over time. If your prescription becomes too weak, you may experience some eyestrain as your eyes try to compensate, but that will not make your vision worse. Visit your optometrist annually to ensure you get up-to-date prescription.
- Wearing glasses will make my vision worse.
This is also untrue. Patients require glasses due to the shape of their eyes. They are either too long (near sighted), too short (far sighted), or have an abnormal curvature (astigmatism). Glasses work by bending the light to focus it properly on the retina, but have no effect on the shape of the eye itself. This means wearing glasses will not make your vision better or worse, but will only clear your vision temporarily while you have the lenses on.
- People with astigmatism cannot wear contact lenses.
Astigmatism is a defect in a lens or in the eye caused by deviation from spherical curvature, resulting in distorted images. Contact lens technology advances every year. There are now contact lenses designed specifically for those with astigmatism. If you were unable to get contact lenses for astigmatism in the past, contact your eye doctor to re-evaluate your options now.
- Eye exams are only necessary if you have vision impairment.
Getting a regular eye exam with your optometrist is the key to preventing diseases that you may be at risk for. It is also the best way to ensure early detection if there is a problem, which promotes earlier treatment and better outcomes.