It's important to separate fact from fiction, especially when the topic is about eyesight. Knowing how to take good care of your eyes is the first step to protecting your sight for a lifetime. So don't be blind to the facts. Here are 9 common eye myths, along with the correct information.
MYTH: An eye examination is necessary only if you're having problems.
FACT: Everyone should follow a proper eye health program that includes a regular eye exam, whether or not they're having any noticeable signs of problems. Children should be tested at six months of age, before entering school (age 4 or so), and then periodically throughout their school years. For adults, the frequency depends on your doctor's advice and may be every other year or more often.
MYTH: Failure to use proper glasses will hurt your eyes.
FACT: This statement does have some truth in it for a small number of persons. Some children have eye problems that can be corrected, and it is important that they wear their glasses. But vision problems caused by heredity or physical injury remain whether or not they use glasses. While corrective glasses or contacts are needed to improve eyesight, using your eyes with or without glasses will not damage them further.
MYTH: Reading in dim light can damage your eyes.
FACT: Reading in dim light can cause eye fatigue, but it will not hurt your eyes.
MYTH: Watching television too closely or for too long will damage your eyes.
FACT: There is no evidence to suggest that watching television by sitting too closely or for too long will damage the eyes. Young children often sit close to the television screen because they have a greater ability to focus on objects close to their eyes than adults do. Consequently, children hold their reading material close as well. However, as they grow older, these habits usually change. If not, the youngsters may have myopia (nearsightedness). To detect signs of possible eye problems, children should have regular eye examinations.
MYTH: Eating carrots will improve your vision.
FACT: While it is true that carrots, as well as many other vegetables, are high in vitamin A, which is an essential vitamin for sight, only a small amount is necessary for good vision. A well-balanced diet, with or without carrots, provides all the nutrients that are needed. In fact, taken to the extreme, too much vitamin A, D or E may actually be harmful.
MYTH: Wearing contacts prevents nearsightedness from getting worse.
FACT: Wearing contact lenses will not permanently correct nearsightedness. Myopia, or nearsightedness, is usually an inherited condition, and contact lenses can only be expected to improve vision. They will not prevent nearsightedness from getting worse.
MYTH: Vision lost to glaucoma can be restored.
FACT: This is a very troublesome myth to eye doctors. The fact is, once glaucoma begins its slow and often unnoticed destruction, the amount of vision lost is permanent. And since glaucoma often does its early damage without causing the eyes to feel any pain, the only way to know whether or not you have glaucoma is to get regular eye examinations, which include the simple test for glaucoma.
MYTH: Cataracts can be removed with a laser.
FACT: A cataract is a clouded lens of the eye; in cataract surgery, the clouded lens is removed. This procedure cannot be performed by a laser, only by surgery. However, after the surgery, the wrapping around the lens (called the casing) is left behind; this casing can become cloudy and cause blurry vision. The casing can then be opened with a laser, but the procedure should not be confused withe surgical removal of the clouded lens.
MYTH: There's nothing you can do about preventing sight loss.
FACT: Regular eye examinations and proper safety eyewear can save your sight. Nearly 90 percent of all blindness from eye injuries can be prevented. regular eye examinations can detect problems earlier, and early detection means that needless loss of vision can be prevented.