From the time we learned to walk and talk, there were a few myths most of us were told at one point or another. Swimming after eating will cause cramps, popping your knuckles will give you arthritis, swallowing a watermelon seed will make one grow in your belly, and of course, sitting too close to the TV will ruin your vision. That last myth isn’t the only popular misconception floating around about eyesight. Today, we’ll break down a couple of the most common and tell you which are true and which are false.
Staring at a Screen Will Damage Your Eyes: Myth
This myth is one you’ve probably worried about since childhood. It all started when you’d eagerly hop out of bed and run to the TV for your favorite Saturday morning cartoons. You’d plop down on the floor just inches away from the screen, cracking up every time the Road Runner outwitted Wile E. Coyote. But pretty soon, your parents would come in and scold you for sitting so close to the TV, claiming you’d ruin your eyesight. Now as an adult, you probably wonder if staring at your computer screen for eight hours a day filling out expense reports (and taking a few Facebook breaks, of course) is going to damage your trusty retinas.
You can rest easy—staring at or sitting too close to a screen won’t cause long-term damage, but it can lead to a few temporary side effects. If you aren’t blinking often enough or taking enough breaks in between Netflix episodes or tasks at work, your eyes can dry out, leading to irritation and a temporary decrease in vision quality. You may also experience a headache and/or neck or shoulder pain. To find ways to combat computer eye strain, check out this great resource. And, if you do notice your child is sitting extremely close to the television, it might be time for an eye exam. Their proximity to the screen may be a sign they can’t see well from further away.
Carrots Are Good for the Eyes: Truth
Growing up, your mom probably told you “Eat up. This will help strengthen your vision,” as she scooped a heaping spoonful of her infamous steamed carrots onto your plate. As a kid, you probably thought it was just a line she was feeding you to get you to eat more vegetables, but it turns out, there’s some truth to mom’s age-old advice. Carrots (among other foods, like cheese, liver, and sweet potatoes) come stocked with plenty of vitamin A, which is a nutrient that promotes good vision. Of course, loading up your plate with veggies and liver sausage won’t give you X-ray vision (wouldn’t that be cool?), and might be more beneficial for those with a vitamin A deficiency, but it’s still a great habit to help promote eye health. Bon appétit!
Wearing Glasses Makes Your Eyes Dependent On Them: Myth
Another false one, folks. When you wear your glasses often and they’re working the way they’re supposed to (that is, correcting your blurry vision), you may get used to seeing things more clearly. When you accidentally leave your glasses on the kitchen counter along with that client brief you really needed for your 8 AM meeting, it may seem like your vision is worse, when in actuality, you’re just not used to seeing without your handy dandy glasses. Oh, and not to mention, wearing someone else’s prescription won’t ruin your vision either—it just might not do much to make your vision more clear.
You Should Still Visit the Eye Doctor When Your Vision Seems Fine: Truth
There are those who will tell you “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” We’ll just lay it all out on the table and cut to the chase—this should not apply to your eyesight. Just because you don’t have any obvious symptoms or signs that something is wrong doesn’t mean there isn’t. For example, with glaucoma, the first noticeable symptom might be vision loss. Going in for an eye exam every two years (or every year if you’re 65 or older) can help your doctor detect problems early on and possibly find treatment that could prevent significant vision damage.
It’s important to remember the two-year rule applies to everyone—not just those with eye issues! In fact, if you do have an eye condition, you might need to visit your eye doctor more often than every two years. Your doctor will come up with a custom appointment schedule to meet your needs. Don’t wait until the symptoms are severe to visit your eye doctor. Good eye health starts with prevention!
All Sunglasses Are Created Equal: Myth
When it’s time to shop for some new shades, keep your eye health in mind as you search out the perfect aviators or cat eye glasses. Some sunglasses will protect your eyes better than others. For example, sunglasses with bigger lenses prevent more UV light from entering your eyes than smaller framed glasses. Another pitfall to watch out for is that some sunglasses offer UV protection, but unfortunately, not all do. Make sure the glasses are not solely for fashion when picking out your new accessory.
Oh, and in case you were wondering—no, crossing your eyes won’t cause them to get stuck that way. (So keep making silly faces to your heart’s content.) If you learned nothing else from this blog, we hope that you walk away with a resolve to eat more carrots, that you remember an all-night Netflix binge session won’t ruin your eyesight, and that you should go in for an eye exam every two years. Happy Netflixing!
Are you experiencing trouble with your eyesight, or is it simply time to schedule your biennial eye exam? Whether you’re dealing with a problem or just looking for some preventative care, we’re the family eye care doctors for you. We’re here to help you take care of your beautiful eyes (so you can continue watching Saturday morning cartoons as much as you desire). Contact us today or schedule an appointment!