8 Myths About Eye Health & Vision Debunked
Have you been reprimanded for sitting too close to the TV? Or told that if you cross your eyes, they will get stuck?
Vision myths are as widespread as they are misleading. They may come from well-meaning friends and family but can cause more harm than good. So, it’s time to debunk them.
In this post, we will be separating the most common vision facts from fiction. Read on!
1. Wearing Eyeglasses Will Make You Dependent on Them
You may have heard people say that wearing glasses makes eyes worse. This is one of the most common eye health myths around and one that's been with us for a really long time.
Eyeglasses help correct blurry vision. Wearing them will not worsen your vision or make you dependent on them.
You will just get used to seeing things more clearly. And the level of blurriness without the glasses will no longer feel comfortable.
On the other hand, not wearing eyeglasses will strain your eyes. This will also lead to recurring headaches and eye fatigue.
Similarly, wearing eyeglasses with the wrong prescription will not damage your eyes. But you won’t see as clearly as you would with the right prescription.
2. Eye Exercises Will Improve Your Vision
The American Academy of Ophthalmology notes that eye exercises do not improve vision. Neither do they reduce the need for wearing eyeglasses.
Vision disorders like myopia, hypermetropia, and astigmatism depend on different factors—the shape of the eyeball, the health of the eye tissues, genetics, diseases, and more. None of these factors can be significantly altered with just eye exercises.
That said, eye exercises are often part of more specialized vision therapy. The goal of such therapies is to strengthen the eye muscles.
These also help treat conditions like convergence insufficiency, strabismus (cross-eye or walleye), and amblyopia (lazy eye).
3. If You Cross Your Eyes, They’ll Permanently Get Stuck
Crossing your eyes won’t force them to stay crossed permanently. Six muscles control your eyes. These muscles let you move your eyes in all directions.
When you cross your eyes, you’re just telling the muscles to move your eyes inward. This is something you would also do naturally to look at objects very close to your face.
But if you deliberately cross your eyes for a long time, it can strain your eye muscles. You are likely to suffer from eye spasms or twitches as a result.
Crossed eyes, or strabismus, on the other hand, is a disorder. It’s caused by muscle or nerve damage. It often requires surgery to correct and isn’t something you can cause by crossing your eyes.
4. Only Males Can Be Color Blind
About 95% of individuals with color blindness are men. But that doesn’t mean women can’t be color blind. In fact, about 1 in 200 women are color blind.
Most individuals with color blindness are born with it. But sometimes, color blindness can occur later in life. Metabolic diseases, trauma, or toxic effects from drugs may trigger it.
Another eye myth is that color blind people see the world in black and white. But most color-blind individuals find it difficult to distinguish between reds, greens, and blues.
The form of color blindness in which everything is seen in different shades of grey is very rare.
5. Reading in Poor Light Will Wreck Your Eyes
Are you lectured over and over for reading a novel in poor light? You’re not the only one. Many people believe reading in dim lighting can harm your eyesight. But this is one of the most common eye myths.
Poor lighting will not affect your eyesight or eye health. But it will tire your eyes more quickly. Plus, straining them for too long can cause a headache.
It’s easier and more relaxing to read in good lighting. The best way is to place a lamp right above the page.
But make sure the light is not shining from over your shoulder, else it will cause a glare, making it more difficult to read. The effect is especially unpleasant if the book has glossy paper.
6. Eating Carrots Will Improve Your Eyesight
Many people ask, “Do carrots improve eyesight?” The simple answer is no. Your eyes need a nutrient-rich diet to remain healthy. Carrots will provide your eyes with Vitamin A. But eating carrots alone will not improve your eyesight.
According to a Harvard Medical School article, fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin A, C, and E help maintain good eyesight. These also protect the eye against age-related problems like cataracts and macular degeneration.
But they won’t prevent or correct vision problems. You will have to keep wearing your eyeglasses prescribed for nearsightedness or farsightedness.
7. Using Wetting Drops Will Cure Dry Eyes
Dry eye syndrome is a chronic disorder. In this, the tear gland doesn’t make enough tears. Dry eyes may cause a stinging or scratchy sensation in the eyes. Your eyes may also turn red and sensitive to light.
You can use wetting drops to lubricate your eyes. Doing so will help relieve the dryness for a few minutes. But it will not cure dry eyes permanently.
It’s best to try to address the underlying causes behind dry eyes such as tear gland disorders, unhealthy diet causing vitamin deficiency, or spending too much time in front of a screen.
8. Staring at a Screen All Day Will Damage Your Eyes
Looking at a computer, phone, or tablet screen will not harm your eyes. But it can cause eyestrain, dry eyes, headaches, and eye fatigue.
That’s because we tend to blink less often while using a screen. This makes the eye dry and tired.
Be sure to blink regularly and rest your eyes every 20 minutes by looking away.
A similar eye myth is that sitting too close to the TV will damage your vision. It will cause eyestrain, but it doesn’t harm your eyes.
However, if your child is habitually sitting close to the TV, it’s good to visit an optometrist. Your child may have nearsightedness.
Keep Your Eyes Healthy
Vision myths may be misleading, but they focus on keeping your eyes healthy. For example, carrots may not improve your vision. But making them a part of your daily diet is certainly healthy for your eyes. They will supply the necessary amount of Vitamin A to your eyes.
Similarly, to keep constant headaches at bay, avoid using electronic devices all day long. You can also take regular breaks in between to not tire your eyes.
It’s also a good practice to exercise your eye muscles regularly. Eye exercises will not improve your eyesight. But they will strengthen your eye muscles and keep them healthy.
You can also avoid reading in dim light. It will only strain your eyes. Make your reading space more comfortable by placing a table lamp directly above the book.
There are also several other things you can do to improve your eye health. Eat a nutrient-rich diet, quit smoking, and wear sunglasses outdoors.
Finally, consider taking our quick online dry eye test. Addressing dry eye symptoms early on makes managing the condition easier.