There are many myths when it comes to taking care of eye health ranging from glasses weakening eye muscles to eating carrots for better night vision. Myths often become myths because there is an element of truth to them. Read on to learn how these myths began and whether or not they are reason to be concerned.
Myth 1. Wearing glasses makes your eyes and vision weaker over time
Wearing glasses or contacts to improve your vision will NOT make your vision worse, it will improve it! People often think wearing glasses makes their eyes dependent on them. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, that isn’t the case. This myth probably came about because as the years go by our eyes may get weaker and a stronger eye glass prescription may be required. This is due to aging, not the glasses.
Myth 2. Cheaters/Over-the-counter readers harm your eyesight
Nope. That’s a myth. Cheater glasses which act by using magnifying lenses in varying strengths instead of prescription lenses won’t harm your eyesight. The concern with using cheaters or over the counter readers is that there may be an underlying cause to your worsening vision. Always have an eye exam first to rule out any eye health issues. Often, if you only have a slight astigmatism, cheaters may be enough. Keep in mind that cheaters may not provide the same visual clarity that you will get with a prescription as both lenses have the same magnification. Most of the time our eyes require different strengths for vision correction which you can only get in prescription eyeglasses.
Myth 3. People who are colour blind can only see in black and white.
Most people who are colour blind can see colour, they just perceive it differently and may have trouble telling the difference between greens and reds. This means their socks might not necessarily match if their shoes if they are choosing from the same colour spectrum, but it’s not as though they don’t know the socks have colour. There is a form of colour blindness in which everything will be seen in shades of gray but it’s rare.
Myth 4. Two brown-eyed parents can’t have a blue-eyed child.
If you and your partner have dark eyes and you think a blue-eyed baby is out of the cards you may be surprised to learn that parental eye colour doesn’t necessarily determine the colour of offspring. The AAO notes that as many as 16 different genes could be responsible for eye color, explaining why two parents with the same eye colour can have children with an entirely different eye colour.
Myth 5. Sitting too close to the TV can harm your eyes
Get back! You’re sitting too close! Sound familiar? Growing up you may have heard your parents say this as you sat in front of the TV. This may be because this myth used to be true. In the 1960’s, TV’s emitted mild levels of radiation. This isn’t an issue with modern televisions. The issue with sitting too close to the TV now is the same as sitting in front of any other screen for too long. It can cause eyestrain or dry eye (also known as computer vision), from exposure to blue light. To prevent this, you can try blue light blocking glasses or take breaks every twenty minutes and look away for twenty seconds.
Myth 6. Eating carrots will improve eyesight
Though carrots are full of nutrients like vitamin A and beta-carotene, and vitamin A does help reduce the impact of cataracts and possibly age-related macular degeneration, following Bug Bunny’s diet won’t help you improve eyesight once it’s lost. So, while carrots and a healthy diet with other sources of vitamin A such as green leafy vegetables can help prevent age related vision loss, it can’t help repair existing loss.
Myth 7. If you cross your eyes, they’ll stay that way.
This myth might have been created by parents trying to prevent their children from making ridiculous faces. It happens to be false. Your eye muscles allow you to move your eyes in all directions. Looking left or right, up or down, won’t force them to remain in those positions, just as crossing the eyes won’t force them to stay that way. Some people have eyes that stay crossed due to poor muscle control, this is known as strabismus.
Myth 8. Reading in dim light will make your eyesight worse.
Okay, here’s another one that may have been passed on to us by our parents. Turn up the light, or you’ll go blind! Technically it’s not true. Reading in dim light won’t harm your vision. It will however, force your eyes to work harder to focus, which may cause eye strain and headaches. So, maybe Mom does have a point.
Myth 9. Losing vision is an inevitable part of aging.
Many vision problem that develop as we age can be treated. Presbyopia, which is near-vision loss, and cataracts can both be remedied to allow adults to see clearly again. Having yearly eye exams will show changes in vision and can catch reversible conditions and other threats to vision, such as glaucoma or macular degeneration. Often early treatment can slow or prevent vision loss.
Myth 10. If you see well, you do not need regular eye exams.
If you are amongst the lucky who still don’t have to hold their menu a mile in front of them to read it, congrats! You may have always had 20/20 vision, and think that your great eyesight means you are exempt from seeing a Toronto eye doctor… nope. Just as you don’t always see your regular doctor when you are sick and have blood work or physicals to prevent disease or catch conditions early, the same is true of your eyes. Many eye and vision problems do not have symptoms, so it’s important to get your eyes checked regularly by an optometrist who can see things you can’t and keep your vision strong and eyes healthy as you age.
Did you know?
When you visit the eye doctor, your optometrist is scanning for much more than just vision problems. Through many comprehensive eye exams, health conditions such as tumors and diabetes are often detected before physical symptoms are present.
Those are the top ten eye myths, busted. Another myth is that all eye doctors are the same in terms of care. We are a Toronto area eye doctor that cares about your eye health today and the future of your vision. We’re here to help! Any questions or concerns, let us know. Time for a check-up? Book an appointment today!