Turn a Blind Eye to These Health Myths About Your Eyes
Our eyes are critically important to us. We need good vision to safely drive, watch movies and enjoy a gorgeous sunset, so, of course, we want to take care of our eyes and keep them in tip-top shape. Unfortunately loads of myths exist about exactly how to take care of them, and what you believe to be true could very well be more fiction than fact.
Take a look at these common myths (pun intended) to see which ones are completely false and which ones could actually help improve your eye health and vision. You might be surprised to learn the truth!
Eating Carrots Improves Your Night Vision
A common myth says that eating more carrots leads to better night vision. Although carrots are high in vitamin A, they are not able to grant you better vision if you already have a healthy diet that is rich in vitamin A. Other foods that provide vitamin A include liver, egg yolks, cheese and milk.
Sitting Too Close to the TV Destroys Your Eyesight
You’ve heard this one since you were a kid, standing a foot in front of the TV staring at the screen. "Move back, or you’ll go blind!" The reality is that sitting close to a screen won’t make you lose your eyesight. If that were the case, we wouldn’t be able to safely use computers, phones or tablets, either.
There’s Nothing You Can Do to Prevent Vision Loss
We’ve heard time and time again that there’s nothing you can do to prevent vision loss, particularly at older ages. That would imply that seeing a doctor makes no sense, but that couldn’t be more wrong. If you happen to have any unusual vision symptoms, you should immediately visit an optometrist.
Using a Nightlight Contributes to Nearsightedness
Little kids get scared. The darkness closes in on them, and monsters pop up in their wild imaginations. So, they want a nightlight, but you’ve heard that it’s not a good idea to put one in their rooms because it could cause nearsightedness.
Artificial Sweeteners Make Your Eyes More Sensitive to Light
This one isn’t so much myth as exaggerated truth. Some studies show using artificial sweeteners like cyclamates in your beverages or food may increase your sensitivity to light. There are, however, other issues that also play into this problem, primarily your medications.
Reading in Dim Light Damages Your Eyesight
If you’re starting to unwind with a fantastic book as the sun begins to set, you might not realize that the room is growing darker while you keep flipping the pages. Never fear — that old myth that reading in dim light will damage your vision is just that: a myth.
Looking Straight at the Sun Blinds You
You’ve probably heard this one many times before: Looking directly into the sun will instantly blind you for life. In the short term, that claim is completely bogus. You will probably get a headache and temporarily not be able to see too well. In the long term, however, it can definitely do permanent damage to your retina. Any direct exposure to sunlight adds to this.
Staring at a Solar Eclipse Can Strengthen Your Eyes
Conversely, some people have spread the idea around that looking directly into the sun is like a sort of workout for your eyes. If you can endure it long enough, you’ll end up with stronger vision and healthier eyes. Don’t believe it for a second!
Wearing Contact Lenses or Glasses Makes You Dependent on Them
A lot of folks have come to believe that wearing contacts or glasses means your eyes get weaker. Of course, your prescription may change over the years, but those natural changes in your eyes have nothing to do with your lenses. This vision loss has to do with degenerative issues or other eye problems.
Children with Crossed Eyes Can Be Treated
We’ve all noticed the kids that have that cross-eyed condition called strabismus. You may have also heard that those crossed eyes would just correct themselves over the years, but that’s not correct at all. In fact, if you don’t get the condition treated at a young age, there may be more issues ahead for them.
Eyesight Gets Worse with Increasing Age
A lot of people believe the myth that older age means you are going to face a host of vision problems and start to lose vision quality. These potential issues include vision loss, retinal damage and a variety of eye-related diseases. However, the truth is not so simple.
Only People with Bad Eyes Can Get Glaucoma
Here’s a good one for you: Only folks with poor eye health get eye diseases. The reality is that glaucoma, one of the most serious eye diseases, isn’t the result of bad eyes. People with 20/20 vision who have never experienced poor vision can suddenly develop the disease without any notice.
Eyeballs Are Removed During an Eye Transplant or Surgery
One pervasive and disturbing eye myth is that during eye surgery, the eyeball itself must be disconnected from the optic nerve and removed from the eye socket. Another related myth is that the whole eye can be transplanted if the original eye suffers massive damage.
Someone with Good Eyesight Doesn’t Need to Visit the Eye Doctor
Some folks think that because they don’t wear glasses, pass their driver’s license eye exams and don’t have noticeable issues, they don’t need to schedule appointments for the eye doctor. However, just like you need an annual physical exam on the rest of your body, you need an annual checkup on your eyes.
You Only Need to Worry About Ultraviolet Light in the Summer
We’ve all been there. The sun is brighter in summer than it is in winter, or at least it seems that way. After all, there aren’t nearly as many days of sunshine from December to March. The reality is that we are simply more conscious of the harmful ultraviolet rays at the height of those 90-degree days in the summer.
You Don’t Really Need Sunglasses and Safety Goggles
Along similar lines, there's a myth that sunglasses and safety goggles don’t provide any practical eye protection. Some workers are even unwilling to use safety goggles because they fear that looking through goggles made of polycarbonate lenses could lead to eye damage.
You Can Wear Contact Lenses Until They Bother You
Contact lenses are prescribed to be worn a certain way, and like any prescription, it’s important to follow your doctor’s orders. A common myth says that contact lenses can be worn until they start to bother you by causing pain and irritation. That’s a terrible idea. If your doctor says to change your lenses every 10 days, then change your lenses every 10 days. Don’t wait until your eyes hurt!
Diabetes Doesn’t Necessarily Increase Eye Health Risk
For some reason, a ridiculous rumor keeps floating around that diabetes isn’t "that bad" a condition to have. Specifically, there seems to be this strange idea that diabetes can’t increase the risk for eye health, but if you talk to anyone who has this disease, they will quickly tell you that isn’t true.
Poor Eyesight and Vision Loss Are Genetic
There is one crazy myth that says only those with a family history of vision loss will have eye issues. Recent scientific research has shown that many eye conditions, including glaucoma, do have certain genetic factors to take into consideration, but they are not the only factors in play.
Electronic Screens Cause Vision Loss
Just like people once thought that TV screens could cause damage to eyes, folks have heard lots of rumors and myths about computer, tablet and phone screens causing vision issues. The reality is there are other factors involved with this problem, not just looking at blue light.
You Can’t Do Anything to Improve Your Vision
Okay, so if you can’t eat carrots and quit your screen habit to combat vision loss and see better, then, apparently, there’s just nothing you can do to prevent this issue. Right? Not at all. In fact, there are definite ways you can prevent eyesight deterioration.
Eye Exercises Can Prevent and Fix Vision Loss
If you're a gym-goer, you know that exercises to work the muscles improve your body strength and your overall health. So, it makes sense that eye exercises would do the same thing for your vision. For a century, the Bates method program was hailed as the standard to use for this purpose.
If You Cross Your Eyes, They Will Stay Like That
You’ve definitely heard this one before: If you cross your eyes, they will stay like that. Little kids have believed this "Mom threat" for decades, maybe centuries. And why not? If you hold your eyes that way for a while, they do kind of hurt.
Vision Problems Can Cause Learning Disabilities
Several issues can arise if your child has difficulty with their vision. These challenges, however, are different from learning disabilities. There are parallels between vision issues and learning disabilities, including difficulty reading, trouble writing and the inability to see the board from the back of the classroom, but they are not the same thing.
Only Males Can Be Color Blind
The myth about men being the only ones who can be color blind is probably due to old sexist views that men weren’t interested in things like fashion, flowers and aesthetics. Well, that and that fact that men are more prone to be color blind than women. An estimated one in 10 males is color blind to some degree.
People Who Are Color Blind Only See Black and White
Speaking of color blindness, some people also falsely believe that folks who are color blind cannot see any color at all — just shades of black, white and gray. A certain form of color blindness does produce this total lack of color, but it’s a very uncommon condition.
Squinting a Lot Can Damage Your Vision
One common myth is the idea that if someone squints too much it will cause damage to the eye and loss of vision. However, research has shown that the only real downside to squinting is that it contributes to wrinkles around the eye, commonly called crow’s feet.
A Cataract Has to Fully "Ripen" Before It Can Be Removed
If you take to the internet, a lot of confusion and misinformation exists about cataracts and surgery. A common myth is that a cataract must be endured until it has reached a certain level of growth on the lens, known as "ripening."
People Who Need Corrective Lenses Can Damage Their Eyes Reading Fine Print
It's common for people to believe that those who need to wear corrective glasses can cause further damage to their eyes if they try to read small text like the fine print on contracts and advertisements without corrective lenses. Although the task may be extremely difficult if you need glasses, focusing on the fine details will not wear out your eyes and make them any worse.
The Wrong Prescription Hurts Your Eyes
One of the most common myths that most of us have heard is that if you wear glasses with the wrong prescription, it will cause both pain and long-term eye damage. The symptoms of wearing the wrong eyeglass prescription include eyestrain, which causes blurry vision and headaches.