DEBUNKING THE MOST COMMON EYESIGHT MYTHS
We get asked questions all of the time, such as, “Can you improve eyesight naturally without glasses?” or “Is staring at a computer for too long bad for your vision?” There is a slew of eyesight beliefs and many just aren’t correct. We’ll address seven common eyesight myths to separate fact from fiction.
1. MYTH: THERE ARE NATURAL WAYS TO IMPROVE EYESIGHT WITHOUT CONTACT LENSES OR GLASSES.
False. When debunking eyesight myths, this one usually comes first on the list. So many of us wish for a way to stop eyes from getting worse or to improve eyesight naturally. The truth is, vision tends to worsen with age and nothing will make you see more clearly if you need glasses or contact lenses.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) studied whether or not techniques like massage, muscle relaxation, supplements, and eye exercises could improve eyesight without glasses. When the study participants’ the vision was tested there was no change. Though some reported their nearsightedness had improved, the AAO said it was a placebo effect. The organization also researched whether acupuncture improved eyesight and concluded there was not enough evidence to support the claim.
2. MYTH: STARING AT A COMPUTER OR TV FOR TOO LONG WILL RUIN YOUR VISION.
True and false. Sitting extremely close to the television or staring at a computer screen for hours on end without a break isn’t great for your eyes. The close range can lead to eyestrain. In addition, staring without blinking, which is common when using a computer, can cause blurred vision, headaches, discomfort and dry eye. A study published in Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics found that 64% to 90% of computer users experienced the aforementioned symptoms. Follow the 20-20-20 rule, which states you should look 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.
While some of these effects don’t cause long term damage, some new studies have found that the blue light (visible light that is close to UV on the light spectrum) emitted from devices such as tablets, smartphones and computer screens, can eventually lead to conditions like age-related macular degeneration. Crizal® Prevencia™, a lens created by Essilor, features a coating that protects the eyes from blue light. I use it myself and have noticed a huge improvement.
3. MYTH: WEARING GLASSES OR CONTACT LENSES WILL MAKE YOUR VISION WORSE OVER TIME AND LEAVE YOU DEPENDENT ON THEM.
False. Wearing glasses or contacts in your correct prescription will not cause your eyesight to deteriorate. The only reason you’re dependent on them is that you need them to see! People’s vision worsens as they get older and an individual who needed one prescription at the age of 20 will likely need a stronger prescription at the age of 60, regardless of whether or not they have used any form of vision correction.
This fallacy is so widespread, that for years, people thought children with myopia, or nearsightedness should be given weaker glasses to slow down the progression and prevent dependence on eyeglasses. A 2002 study divided 94 children ages nine to 14 into two groups. The first group wore the correct eyeglass prescription while the other group wore ones that were too weak. Those who wore the weaker glasses actually experienced a slightly greater decline in eyesight.
4. MYTH: READING TOO MUCH FINE PRINT OR IN DIM LIGHT WILL HARM YOUR VISION.
False. This age-old myth is similar to the belief that staring at a computer or sitting too close to the TV will harm vision. Reading fine print can potentially cause eyestrain as can reading in low light because it makes it hard to focus. However, it’s not permanent. To avoid tired, dry eyes, try to position the light so that it hits the page directly and take breaks when staring at fine print. You’ll be able to see more clearly and comfortably.
5. MYTH: EATING CARROTS IS GOOD FOR YOUR EYESIGHT.
True and false. Your diet plays a role in healthy eyes and vision. Carrots are a good source of vitamin A and a vitamin A deficiency can cause vision to deteriorate. While good nutrition, which also includes fruits and dark leafy greens that have even higher concentrations of antioxidants, can help ward off macular degeneration and cataracts, it won’t fix basic vision issues and will not magically give you 20/20 vision. You’ll still have to wear glasses if you need them.
6. MYTH: NOTHING WILL HELP PREVENT VISION LOSS.
False. Yes, improving eyesight without glasses isn’t realistic when it comes to regular nearsightedness and farsightedness. But, vision loss from glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy can be caught early and treated or even avoided with regular eye exams and a healthy diet and lifestyle. Issues like cataracts can be fixed. In addition, eye injuries, which can lead to vision loss, are easily preventable if you follow the correct safety precautions.
Now that you’re armed with information and have the facts about the most common eyesight myths, it’s time to really improve your vision. How? With glasses or contact lenses in the correct prescription. Stop by the Spectacle Shoppe in Vancouver or visit us online. We’ll help you find spectacles so flattering or contact lenses so comfortable, you won’t even mind wearing them.