Debunking common eye health myths

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Wearing prescription glasses makes my vision worse

No, wearing prescription glasses does not make your vision worse. In fact, prescription glasses are specifically designed to correct your vision and help you see more clearly. However, wearing glasses may make your eyes feel dependent on them for clear vision.

Without glasses, your vision may appear blurry because your eyes have become accustomed to the correction provided by the lenses. This does not mean that your vision has worsened, but rather that you have become used to seeing clearly with the assistance of glasses.

Not wearing my glasses improves my vision

No, avoiding wearing your glasses does not strengthen your vision. This is a common misconception. If you choose not to wear your glasses when they are prescribed, your eyes will strain to focus, which can lead to eye fatigue, headaches, and discomfort. Over time, neglecting to wear your glasses can even contribute to worsening vision or additional eye problems.

How does aging affect my vision?

As we hit around the age of 40’s, presbyopia develops. It is a natural age-related condition affecting the eye’s ability to focus on close objects. The crystalline lens in the eye loses flexibility as we age, making it difficult to focus on nearby objects, such as reading a book. Presbyopia is typically corrected with reading glasses, bifocals, or progressive lenses.

Cataract is another common condition related to aging, where the crystalline lens in the eyes thicken and become progressively cloudy. This leads to a gradual reduction in the clarity of one’s vision, particularly in low-light conditions. When people develop cataract, they’ll typically have to go for cataract surgery.

Do family genetics affect my eye health?

Yes, family genetics can have an impact on eye health. Many eye conditions and diseases have a hereditary component, including refractive errors (myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism), glaucoma, Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), and color deficiency.

Eating carrots improves my vision

No, carrots are indeed rich in Vitamin A, which is beneficial for eye health. However, it is important to note that eating carrots alone will not improve vision or cure existing eye conditions. In fact, a well-rounded diet, rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables, is more beneficial for eye health.

Vitamins A, C, and E can improve eye health and vision

Vitamins A, C, and E play important roles in maintaining eye health and supporting optimal vision. Other nutrients for eye health include omega-3 fatty acid is essential in overall eye health too.

However, it is worth mentioning that maintaining good eye health goes beyond just diet. Regular eye examinations, wearing prescribed corrective lenses (if needed), protecting your eyes from UV radiation and excessive screen time, and practicing good eye hygiene are all important factors in maintaining and optimizing vision.

Does squinting in the sun damage my eyes?

Squinting in the sun itself does not cause damage to the eyes. In fact, squinting is a natural response to bright light and serves to reduce the amount of light entering the eyes. However, it does not provide comprehensive protection against UV rays. Harmful UV rays from the sun can lead to cataracts and AMD.

Therefore, it is important to wear sunglasses with UV protection to limit UV exposure. Tips such as seeking shade and wearing a wide-brimmed hat outdoors help to reduce UV exposure too.

Does reading in dim light damage my eyes?

Reading in dim light does not cause permanent damage to the eyes but it can give you temporary discomfort and eye strain. Dim lighting decreases the contrast between the text and the background, making it more difficult to read comfortably. As a result, the eyes may have to strain and squint to make out the words, which can contribute to eyestrain and decreased reading efficiency.

Does sitting too close to the TV harm my vision?

No, sitting too close to the TV does not harm your vision. However, sitting close to the TV screen may cause eye strain and headaches as your eyes may need to work harder to focus on the images.

Only older people get cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration

The belief that only older people get cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration is a myth. While it is true that these conditions are more prevalent in older individuals, they can occur at any age due to various factors, including in children and young adults.

There is nothing you can do to prevent or slow down cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration

The truth is, there are a few strategies we can do to slow down these diseases. Maintaining a healthy diet and practicing a good lifestyle can minimize the risks of all these ocular diseases. Routine eye examinations are crucial for early detection and management of these conditions. Regular follow-ups allow your eye doctor (ophthalmologist) to monitor any changes and provide appropriate interventions to slow down the progression.

Wearing UV protection such as sunglasses or using an umbrella can also help to slow down cataract progression.

I don’t need an eye exam unless I’m having problems

Regular eye examinations are crucial for early detection of eye conditions. Many eye conditions, including glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy and cataracts do not present noticeable symptoms in their early stages.

By the time symptoms become apparent, irreversible damage to your eyesight may have occurred. Regular eye exams enable eye care professionals to detect these conditions at their earliest stages when they are more treatable and manageable.

Here are some tips to maintain good eye health:

  1. Regular eye examinations: Routine eye checks help detect and manage eye diseases more
  2. Protect your eyes from UV rays: Wear sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection whenever
    you are exposed to sunlight.
  3. Follow a balanced diet: Eat a nutritious diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and foods high in omega-3
    fatty acids (such as fish) to support good eye health. Foods like leafy greens, carrots, citrus fruits,
    and nuts contain vitamins and antioxidants that promote healthy eyes.
  4. Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away from the screen and focus on an object
    20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
  5. Avoid smoking: Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of eye conditions, including
    cataracts, glaucoma, and AMD.
  6. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle: Exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, managing
    systemic conditions like diabetes and hypertension, and getting enough sleep will all contribute
    to good eye health.
  7. For contact lens wearers, ensure not to overwear your lenses, clean and store your lenses
    correctly, replace them as recommended, and avoid sleeping or swimming with contact lenses.
  8. Practice good hygiene: Wash your hands thoroughly before touching your eyes or apply any eye
    drops or contact lenses to reduce the risk of eye infections.