You have probably heard a lot of these myths over the years and often wondered how true they are. Below, we’ve listed the top 10 myths we’ve heard through talking with patients. What are some others you have heard?
1. Myth: Eating carrots will improve your eyes
Fact: Carrots are rich in vitamin A, which is important for a healthy diet. But eating carrots, even by the bushel, will not improve your eyesight.
2. Myth: Reading in the dark will damage your eyes.
Fact: Our moms told us this over and over. While reading in low light may cause eye fatigue and, possibly, a headache, it cannot cause permanent damage.
3. Myth: Sitting too close to the TV will hurt your eyes.
Fact: There goes mom again! It is not uncommon for kids to sit too close to the TV simply to become more engaged in it, not really to see it better. There is no truth to the myth that our eyes will weaken as a result.
4. Myth: Wearing glasses all of the time will weaken your eyes.
Fact: Wearing eye glasses does not make our eyes worse. Some eye conditions (like nearsightedness) will worsen with time, but that has nothing to do with glasses. What glasses can do, though, is “spoil” our vision, so the next time you forget them it feels like your eyes are much worse, but it is really that you are just missing the glasses.
5. Myth: Using the computer a lot can weaken your eyes.
Fact: Similar to sitting too close to the TV, using a computer for a long period of time will certainly cause eye fatigue, but not create nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism.
6. Myth: Wearing someone else’s glasses can weaken your eyes.
Fact: Wearing a prescription that is not the correct one for you can cause eye strain and fatigue, but will not cause any eye damage. You could wear the wrong glasses upside down and not suffer one bit from it!
7. Myth: Using wetting drops cures dry eyes.
Fact: Dry eyes are a chronic condition in which the tear gland does not make enough tears. Using wetting drops will certainly make the eyes feel better for a few minutes, but will not solve the problem. There are drops available to stimulate more tear production, but they are only available by prescription.
8. Myth: Not everyone gets cataracts.
Fact: A cataract is the clouding of the natural human lens. Believe it or not, the first symptom of the aging of our eyes that will ultimately lead to cataract formation is the need for reading glasses in our 40’s. So, I always tell my patients that if we are blessed to live long enough, we will all get cataracts.
9. Myth: Wearing over the counter reading glasses will weaken your eyes.
Fact: While OTC reading glasses are not the most stylish or well made glasses, the price is certainly right. Also, the plastic of the lens may not be the best quality. None of these things, however, will hurt our eyes as we use them. The sad fact is that our reading worsens because we are aging, not because of the quality of the reading glasses we are wearing.
10. Myth: Eye exams are not necessary unless you are having an eye problem.
Fact: This couldn’t be more false. There are many silent enemies of the eyes – glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetes and hypertension to name but a few – that only a routine eye examination can pick up. I recommend an eye exam every 2 years for people under 65 and yearly when over 65.