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Debunking the Myths about Eyes

Photo: HuffPost

Here at Eye Care Specialists, we can’t tell you how many patients walk in with myths and misconceptions about the human eyes. No, the number of carrots you eat probably is not going to affect how well you see. No, if you cross your eyes too many times they are not going to get stuck that way. If you have received this kind of advice in the past, read on, as the Norwood LASIK Eye Care Specialists break down the facts and myths surrounding your eyes.

Fact or Myth: Sitting too close to the television will damage your eyesight.

Answer: Myth. The only organ sitting too close to the television set will affect is your brain—with a nasty headache, but it won’t worsen your vision. Much of the problem comes from the screen because people who focus on them too long tend not to blink, which causes eye strain. It may, however, be a sign of preexisting vision problems, especially in children.

Fact or Myth: Reading in dim light will damage your eyes.

Answer: Myth. Like sitting too close the television set, reading in a dimly lit room will at the most cause give you a headache or eyestrain.

Fact or Myth: Prescription eyewear will cause your eyes to become dependent on them, and even worsen your eyesight over time.

Answer: Myth. This is similar to the old “wearing a hat all the time makes you go bald” myth. Really, eyesight only gets worse over time because a person ages. It was just a coincidence that they were wearing prescription glasses or contact lenses when it happened. With age, your eyes naturally begin to deteriorate; and so, someone who needed reading glasses at 40 is likely to need a stronger prescription for them at 50—whether they’ve actually been using glasses or not.

Fact or Myth: Starring at the sun too long will damage your vision.

Answer: Fact. Just ask the prominent scientist Isaac Newton, who temporarily injured his eyes by looking directly into the sun. Staring directly into the sun not only causes temporary problems like headaches, it can also cause vision distortions. If your eyes are constantly bombarded with the sun’s ultraviolent rays it can result in serious vision problems like corneal dystrophies and macular degeneration. This is why wearing sunglasses are so important when you step outside of the house on a bright day.

Fact or Myth: People with blue eyes all share one common ancestor.

Truth: True. Ninety-five percent of Europeans in Scandinavian countries have blue eyes. So where does it come from? Many scientist believe that the blue eye trait originated as a genetic mutation in one human being about 6,000 to 10,000 years ago, in the Black Sea region. Before that, everyone had brown eyes.

Fact or Myth: Squinting a lot can damage your vision.

Answer: Myth. Squinting is actually your body’s attempt to make your pupils smaller, in order to let in less light. By closing your eye lids together it further enhances your focus. Squinting isn’t going to make you need glasses, but it may be a sign that you need glasses. Squinting suggests that you may have a refractive error. This is a condition where the eye cannot bend light correctly, resulting in blurry vision, such as near- or farsightedness.

Fact or Myth: We are doomed to suffer the same eye problems as our parents.

Answer: Somewhat true. Conditions like glaucoma are definitely inheritable. Studies even seem to show that nearsightedness and farsightedness have some relation to whether your parent(s) had the same problem. However, though many eye problems are genetic, inheritance is not guaranteed and not every eye condition is genetically related. Cataracts, for instance, are caused by an age-related degeneration of the lens.

Fact or Myth: As you get older, there’s nothing you can do about your worsening vision.

Answer: Myth. Some problematic conditions that occur as you age, like cataracts, are inevitable. Cataracts are not a disease, and if everyone lived long enough, they would get them. But at the same time, cataracts, like many vision problems, can be fixed.

Not all vision problems lead to permanent vision loss. However, some vision problems and eye diseases can even lead to blindness, especially if they go untreated. The sooner a vision problem is diagnosed and treatment begins, the better the chance is that your ophthalmologist can save your sight or at least slow down vision loss. This is why it is crucial to undergo a yearly eye exam. To schedule an appointment with the Norwood LASIK Eye Care Specialists, contact us at 781-769-8880.