With so much information available at our fingertips – through family, friends, doctors, and the internet, it’s hard to know exactly what’s true and what’s not. While some sources may seem legitimate, the information provided may actually be embellished or straight-up fiction. Furthermore, what many have believed for years may also not actually be true, especially when it comes to our health.
Over time, many common eye health myths have emerged that people continue to believe today, including the idea that staring too long at the television is bad for your eyes, or that eating lots of carrots is good for your vision. To help clear up any confusion, we’re breaking down some common eye health myths. Keep reading to find out if you have the facts straight!
Investigating Eye Health Myths vs. Facts
Myth 1: Carrots help improve vision.
The Facts: Foods rich in vitamin A can help maintain good eyesight but will not improve vision or reduce the need for glasses or contacts.
The body only needs a small amount of vitamin A for vision, and it can be obtained through sources other than carrots, such as sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, and apricots. While eating carrots won’t harm your health as they are a good source of Vitamin A, you shouldn’t overemphasize eating them just for the visual benefits.
Myth 2: Vision loss only occurs in adults.
The Facts: Vision loss can occur at any age.
People of all ages can be living with or develop vision loss due to injuries or various conditions. Specifically, conditions such as amblyopia (lazy eye) or strabismus (crossed eyes) may seem common in children, but if left untreated can cause vision loss. Amblyopia occurs when a child’s vision is reduced because the eye and brain are not working together properly, and strabismus occurs when the eyes do not line up in the same direction when focusing on an object.
Keratoconus is another condition that typically affects the vision of teens and young adults and can cause vision loss if progression is left untreated. If you or a loved one experiences any changes in your vision, it’s important to make an appointment with your eye doctor to determine the underlying cause and available treatment options.
Myth 3: Sitting too close to the TV or watching too much TV can damage eyes.
The Facts: Sitting close to a television or staring at one for too long will not damage the eyes of children and adults, but it may cause eyestrain or headaches.
Children often sit close to the TV since they are better able to focus on objects closer to their eyes than adults are. Doing so won’t cause poor vision, but it may cause dry or tired eyes. However, if this habit does not change as they get older, regular eye exams may be needed to detect possible vision problems, such as nearsightedness.
Myth 4: All eye care professionals are the same.
- Opticians are technicians who are trained to design, verify and fit glasses, contact lenses, and other corrective devices.
- Optometrists are eye care professionals who provide primary vision care, which can range from vision testing and optical correction to disease diagnosis, treatment, and management.
- Ophthalmologists are medical or osteopathic doctors who specialize in eye care, can diagnose and treat eye diseases, and can perform surgery, like corneal transplants, LASIK, or FDA-approved corneal cross-linking.
Myth 5: Computers and blue light can damage eyes.
The Facts: While staring at a computer or other screens (phone, TV) won’t cause damage to your eyes, doing so can lead to eye strain, tired or dry eyes.
Approximately 32.4% of Americans report experiencing digital eye strain. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce eye strain, including investing in some lubricated eye drops or a humidifier and adjusting your computer monitor or font size. Computer eye strain glasses are also a common way to relieve digital eye strain symptoms. Finally, the 20/20/20 Rule is regularly recommended for anyone using digital screens. Every 20 minutes look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Myth 6: Losing vision is just a normal part of aging and nothing can be done.
The Facts: Many vision problems, such as presbyopia, cataracts, glaucoma, or keratoconus, can be treated if detected early through regular vision exams.
It’s important that you and your loved ones get your eyes checked regularly. Annual eye exams can reveal both reversible and permanent threats to your vision and overall eye health. For some conditions, such as progressive keratoconus, early diagnosis and treatment with FDA-approved corneal cross-linking can slow or halt the progression of the disease.
How Did You Do?
Did you know the truth behind these common eye myths? Share the facts with your family and friends to help them stay informed. For more common eye myths and to learn fact from fiction, visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Prevent Blindness today. Did we miss any other common eye myths? Tag us on social media to let us know!