When it comes to your vision and overall eye health, there is plenty of misinformation out there. You’ve likely heard different schools of thought about aspects of eye care from a variety of well-meaning people in your life (or while searching on the Internet), but it’s important to separate fact from fiction. After all, you only get one set of eyes and you want to make sure that you’re taking the best possible care of them. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most prevalent eye care myths so you can be armed with accurate knowledge.
Myth 1: Reading Glasses are Just as Good as Prescription Glasses
When someone wants to save some money, they may go to their local drugstore and pick up a pair of “readers” for a few bucks. While these reading glasses can serve the most basic purpose of clarifying text and images that are close-up, they are different from prescription glasses and could be doing your eyes a disservice. The main reason for this is that both lenses in reading glasses have the same prescription, while most individual's’ eyes require different strength lenses in each eye. The only way to truly meet your eyes’ needs is by getting a custom prescription from an eye doctor.
Myth 2: Eating Carrots Daily Will Improve my Eyesight
This one isn’t totally untrue, but it is definitely exaggerated. Carrots contain Vitamin A, which is crucial for your eye health and optimal vision. But carrots aren’t the only way to get enough Vitamin A. Beef liver, sweet potato, kale, and spinach are all excellent sources of Vitamin A as well. The takeaway: continue munching those carrots (and other foods rich in Vitamin A), but don’t expect them to singlehandedly fix your eyesight.
Myth 3: Exposure to Bright Lights Causes Cataracts
Contrary to myths, aging and unhealthy lifestyles are the main culprit behind the development of a cataract. Bright lights, whether fluorescent or incandescent, will not play a role in causing cataracts. However, an excess of exposure to UV light could contribute to some types of cataracts, so it’s always best to protect your eyes from the sun.
Myth 4: You can Safely Clean your Contacts with Water or Saliva
This is an eye care myth that can cause some serious problems. First, even purified water contains some bacteria, which can be harbored by your contact lenses and result in dangerous eye infections. Second, saliva isn’t any better. Either of these options can create significant issues for your eyes. Only use disinfecting solutions for storing your contacts and a safe cleansing solution (like saline) for cleaning.
Myth 5: Sitting in Front of the TV for Long Periods can Damage your Eyesight
While moms everywhere might use this myth as a way to limit their kids’ TV habits, the truth is that having TV-watching marathons won’t damage your eyes long-term. There are some temporary repercussions from this activity, like dry eyes (caused by not blinking as much as you would normally), and some eyestrain, but these will disappear shortly after you’ve turned the TV off.
Myth 6: Reading in the Dark can Damage your Eyesight
The reason this eye myth likely came about is because reading in dim lighting doesn’t feel very comfortable. But while reading in darker lighting can certainly strain your eyes while you’re engaged in the activity, it will not damage your eyesight or eye health so no need to avoid it. If you have the option to use a reading light or move to a different area that has better lighting, though, you might be more comfortable.
Myth 7: All Vision Loss is Permanent
There are some types of vision loss that may be permanent, but there are also other kinds that are not. For instance, it’s not unusual for a person’s eyesight to improve over time. The changes aren’t often drastic, but positive changes in nutrition and other lifestyle choices (like quitting smoking) could contribute to a rebound in eye health, vision, and even some reversal of diseases. But blindness is in fact permanent, as are a few other types of vision loss. If you’re experiencing any vision loss, your best bet is to see an eye doctor.
Myth 8: Eye Exams aren’t Necessary Unless You Have Eye Pain or a Pressing Vision Problem
This eye care myth is another one that can be particularly damaging. Regular eye exams do a lot more than just help you stay current with your glasses or contact lens prescriptions; they can also alert you to a developing eye disease or other problem. And sometimes, when it comes to eye health, preventive measures can make all the difference. Don’t gamble with your vision. Make regular eye exam appointments before pain or other symptoms set in.
Myth 9: Eye Exercises Will Improve Your Vision
There is some truth that certain eye exercises can strengthen eyesight and improve vision in young children, but most young children aren’t willing participants in these exercises. In adults, eye exercises rarely, if ever, help your vision. They may, however, help you to use your eyes more effectively.
Myth 10: Cataracts Need to be Fully Developed to be Removed
This is one cataract myth that is completely opposite of the truth, as cataracts are easiest to remove when they first begin to develop. When they become more developed, they are actually very difficult to remove. And waiting too long to remove a cataract could result in serious problems, including blindness. Cataracts should be dealt with immediately.
Now that you know the real deal about these common eye care myths, contact us to ask about our exams and schedule an appointment.