“Don’t cross your eyes or they’ll stay that way!”
“Don’t sit too close to the TV because you’re hurting your eyes!”
“Turn a light on to read, or you’re going to make yourself go blind!”
Everyone has believed these things at one time or another. And though people get older and wiser, it seems that they haven’t wised up to the truth behind all of these pieces of eye advice. Vision can be a touchy subject for people, because blindness is one of the top healthcare-related fears. It comes in third, right after cancer and heart disease. People fear losing their vision more than any other sense, which is why they keep falling for silly vision myths. Here’s a list of the…
Top 10 vision myths that everyone falls for, and why they simply aren’t true
Myth #1: Crossing your eyes will make them stay that way
Truth: Crossing your eyes is totally harmless! Your eyes have muscles, and those muscles can move. They can move your eyes look out, up, down, or in this case, inward. Your eyes move inward to focus on an object as it gets closer to your face. So, crossing your eyes is normal, natural, and pretty hilarious, and unless you have a well-timed muscle spasm, they won’t stay that way.
Myth #2: Sitting close to the TV or computer will hurt your vision
Truth: At worst, the TV or computer will give you a bit of temporary eye strain. And it’s not even the screen’s fault, it’s your own. Most people don’t blink when they look at a screen, so your eyes get dry and your vision suffers for a bit until your eyes get moist again. As for distance from the screen, you can’t be too close. Children often sit close because they think it’s fun, and their eyes are equipped to handle it.
Myth #3: Reading in a dim environment will ruin your eyes
Truth: One ophthalmologist had a great comeback for this one: “It’s like saying if you take a picture in poor light, then the camera is going to be damaged.” Reading in dim light is certainly harder, but it won’t ruin your eyes. It’s simple science: your pupils have to enlarge in order to get more light to the retina so that your eyes can focus on an image. Having less light won’t hurt anything, but it might make it harder to read. Reading of any kind can cause temporary eye strain, but nothing more.
Myth #4: Carrots can help improve your eyesight
Truth: Ah, if only it were that simple! You could eat nothing but carrots all day, and the most exciting thing to happen to your body would be orange-tinted skin. Carrots won’t change your vision. It is true that they are an excellent source of Vitamin A and beta carotene, which are nutrients that eyes need to be healthy. Keep eating them as part of a healthy diet, but don’t expect the numbers on the chart to get clearer because of them.
Myth #5: Squinting is bad for your eyes
Truth: This one is in the same vein as the cross-eyed myth. Squinting is our body’s natural response to a bright environment. The eyelids come together to help filter out some of the light before it hits the pupil, which helps the eyes focus better. That’s why people who can’t see squint- it helps them focus. It isn’t bad for your eyes and it won’t worsen vision. You might get a headache from working all those face muscles, though.
Myth #6: If you don’t wear your glasses, your vision will just get worse
Truth: Let’s be clear here: your vision will get worse over time. Period. Dot. This happens with or without corrective lenses. If you need glasses but don’t wear them, you will just live in a blurry world and you will probably have a headache from squinting too much. Your eyes don’t know that you are supposed to be wearing your glasses, and they won’t punish you by deteriorating further. Not wearing glasses won’t make you see worse.
Myth #7: If your parents have poor vision, then so will you
Truth: When Shakespeare wrote that “the sins of the father are to be laid upon the children,” I don’t think he was referring to glasses. Just because your parents can’t see doesn’t mean you’ll be cursed with the same fate. Some eye conditions are inheritable, but there’s no guarantee. Many eye conditions are a result of environment rather than genetics. Many, like cataracts, are simply the result of aging eyes.
Myth #8: Wearing glasses will make your vision worse and cause dependence on glasses
Truth: It’s funny how people want to personify their eyes. Eyes really don’t have a personality. They don’t think that glasses are a horrible thing that cause addiction and decay. This myth just isn’t true. Wearing glasses isn’t going to change the physiology of your eyes. The lens of the eye continues to grow throughout someone’s life, and the growth can cause continued problems with vision. That’s why someone may need a stronger pair of glasses in the future, not because of wearing glasses.
Myth #9: Staring at the sun is okay if you’ve got sunglasses on
Truth: Don’t look at the sun. Just don’t do it. UV rays will fry your eyes. Sunglasses make the frying harder, but not impossible. If you stare at a solar eclipse, you could even go blind. DO NOT STARE AT THE SUN.
Myth #10: You only need to see an eye doctor if something is wrong
Truth: This might be the worst myth of all. Remember that prevention is the best medicine!
A regular eye exam can not only keep your eyes healthy and ensure proper vision, but it can screen for other health issues and avoid future eye disease. Catching problems early minimizes the consequences. Don’t wait until something is wrong to see an eye doctor, even if you have perfect vision.
Be a Myth-Buster: Take Care of Your Eyes the Right Way!
Don’t fall for silly vision myths. Use common sense with your eye care, and remember that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you are wondering about these or any other vision myths, why not ask an ophthalmologist? The doctors at Advanced Eye Medical would be happy to answer any questions and get you on the right path to great eye health.