It seems that everyone around the world has heard myths about eye care, from the dangers of sitting too close to the TV to certain vegetables that can give us better eyesight. While it’s important that we take care of our eyes, most of the myths that we hear about taking care of our eyes are just that: myths. Some of them have a little bit of truth to them, but the same can be said about most myths.
That being said, here are some of the most common eye care myths and the truth behind them.
Myth #1: The right foods can improve your eyesight.
We’ve all heard stories about how eating carrots can give us great eyesight. After all, rabbits eat carrots all the time, and they have excellent eyesight, right? Well, not exactly. The truth is that carrots and other foods rich in Vitamin A can improve your eyesight, but only if there was a significant deficiency of Vitamin A in the first place. This also only applies to your ability to see in dim light, since Vitamin A is mainly important for night vision. The eyes of those who don’t suffer from a vitamin deficiency won’t see a positive change in their eyesight if they increase the amount of Vitamin A in their diets. In fact, consuming too much Vitamin A can actually be harmful to your health, just like consuming too much of any vitamin or mineral can be harmful. In the end, the most important thing for a person’s health is that they maintain a balanced diet.
Also, the idea that rabbits like carrots is also a myth. They prefer grass and leafy green vegetables.
Myth #2: Sitting too close to the TV will ruin your eyes.
This myth dates back to the early days of television. The earliest home televisions that were made available used cathode ray tubes that emitted radiation that could damage the eyes, hence the countless warnings from parents everywhere not to sit too close to the TV. In reality, there were no proven instances of anybody’s eyes being damaged by television ‘radiation’. Modern televisions don’t even emit the kind of radiation that their predecessors did.
A lot of people have reported blurred vision and soreness in the eyes after watching too much TV, but it isn’t the television’s fault. Focusing on a single object for a long period of time can cause eye strain, which is simply the muscles of the eye becoming exhausted. This can be fixed with a little rest.
Myth #3: Reading too much will damage your eyes.
There are a few reasons why this myth persists to this day. First of all, people have noticed that many people who like to read also wear glasses, so they’ve concluded that there must be a connection. Second of all, reading too long can cause your vision to become blurry and your eyes to become sore. Actually, the blurred vision and soreness comes from eye strain, which can be caused by staring at a book just as easily as staring at a television screen. Once again, this is just exhaustion caused by overuse. It doesn’t mean that your eyes are being permanently damaged. A little rest is all that is needed to cure eye strain.
As for the glasses, that’s merely a coincidence. There are plenty of people who don’t read, who also wear glasses.
Myth #4: If you cross your eyes too much, they’ll get stuck that way.
This is just blatant misinformation. Yes, some people can cross their eyes more easily than others, and yes, some people have their eyes permanently crossed, but there is no correlation between the two. In actuality, someone who can cross his or her eyes easily will have less of a chance of having permanently crossed eyes.
The condition of having permanently crossed eyes is actually an issue with the eye muscles, and it cannot be caused by crossing your eyes too much. It is a pre-existing condition that only results in crossed eyes if it goes unchecked. It can be corrected with eye exercises, corrective lenses or surgery in extreme cases.
Myth #5: Crossed or misaligned eyes can be outgrown.
We mentioned above that permanently crossed eyes can be corrected, yet many people believe that this isn’t necessary because children merely outgrow having crossed or misaligned eyes. This way of thinking is very dangerous. Most of the myths on this list are kind of silly, but this one should be taken seriously. Permanently crossed or misaligned eyes may be a symptom of other eye problems that need to be addressed, and even if they aren’t a serious problem, they can cause problems later in life.
Any child who has permanently crossed eyes or misaligned eyes should see an ophthalmologist, or eye doctor. This issue should be treated as early as possible before it develops into a much more serious problem.
Myth #6: The wrong prescription for glasses will ruin your vision.
There is actually some truth to this myth. The wrong prescription can indeed damage a person’s eyes…if that person is a child. A child’s eyes are still developing along with the rest of the child’s body, and wearing glasses with a prescription that is too weak or too strong can impede that development and damage the eyes. This isn’t the case for adults, however. While nobody should be wearing glasses that are the wrong prescription, the worst thing that can happen to adults is that they’ll develop eye strain along with some nasty headaches. There will be no lasting damage to your eyes, but chances are that you don’t want to wear glasses that you can’t see out of clearly anyway. HOWEVER in children this is not the case and wearing the wrong prescription can damage vision.
Myth #7: Going to bed with wet hair will make you go blind.
This is clearly one of the strangest eye care myths out there. Myths about sitting too close to the TV or reading too much at least have eye strain as a source of misinformation. On the other hand, this one is just bizarre. For the record, nobody has ever gone to bed with wet hair and woken up blind. This myth most likely comes from parents who told it to their children to keep their bedding dry. Just like stories of the boogey man, it was probably meant to scare children into behaving.
Myth #8: Wearing glasses or contacts will make your natural vision weaker.
This myth is similar to the one in which the wrong prescription of glasses will ruin your vision. That myth at least has some truth to it when it comes to children. However, the myth that wearing any glasses will weaken your vision simply isn’t true. In fact, corrective lenses are entirely beneficial, and the only way a pair of glasses could ever permanently damage your eyesight is if they broke and material from the lenses were to penetrate your eyes. Then again, this can happen if anything penetrates your eyes, so glasses cannot be blamed on that.
This myth most likely comes from people who have worn glasses or contact lenses for an extended period of time and suddenly try going without them. They remove their corrective lenses only to find that their vision is far worse than they remember. They naturally assume that they’ve come to rely on their glasses or contacts too much, and that their natural vision has weakened as a result. They don’t use their naked eyes as much as they “should,” so the muscles in the eyes atrophy just like any muscle that isn’t used regularly. It makes sense from a certain point of view, but the truth is that the reason why a person’s vision seems to be so much worse after wearing glasses or contacts is simply because their vision just happens to be worse than they remember. It’s possible that their vision did change, but that isn’t the fault of any vision correction. Vision deteriorates all the time whether or not a person is wearing glasses. The idea that their vision has been somehow damaged by a pair of glasses is just their mind and memory playing tricks on them.