As children, our well-intentioned parents probably told us not to do a number of things they thought would hurt us, including many warnings about potentially harming our eyes. We have all heard these “myths” at one time or another, but how many – if any – of them are true?
While staring at a computer screen all day may cause eyestrain or tired, blurry eyes, it will not permanently damage your vision. Make sure your screen is properly positioned to minimize eye stress, adjust lighting to avoid screen glare, and take regular breaks to rest your eyes. If dry eyes are a problem (from blinking less frequently while looking at a screen), ask your eye doctor about helpful eye drops.
Carrots are rich in beta carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A – a key nutrient in maintaining normal vision. Orange, yellow and green fruits and vegetables provide antioxidants that may also help protect your eyes against cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. However, unless you have a severe vitamin A deficiency – which can cause vision problems, including blindness – eating extra carrots won’t make bad vision better.
While dim light can make it more difficult for the eyes to focus, causing short-term eye fatigue, there is no scientific evidence that doing so causes long-term damage to your eyes. Your eyes are actually designed to adjust to different levels of light – in dim light, your pupils enlarge to allow more light to reach your retinas. If you find yourself straining to read, use a lamp whose light points directly at your reading material.
Your mother was right about this one – staring directly into the sun can cause permanent damage to your retina from UV radiation, and can occur in as little as two minutes! Sunglasses may actually make the damage worse by allowing you to stare longer at the sun without pain. The most dangerous times are at midday (when the sun is brightest) and during a solar eclipse (when the brightness of the sun is hidden). To protect your eyes, NEVER look directly into the sun!
Luckily, our eye muscles allow our eyes to look in multiple directions, including at each other. True crossed eyes (the medical term is “strabismus”) are the result of disease or nerve damage, not from forcing your eyes to temporarily cross, and can usually be corrected, especially at an early age. So go ahead and mug for the camera – the occasional goofy face will not hurt you.
To ensure the best possible eye health, have your eyes checked yearly, sharing family eye and other health history with your eye doctor. The following additional tips can also help maintain or improve your vision, and are absolutely not myths:
The 10 optometrists across Eye Associates’ seven Johnson County office locations are qualified to treat all routine eye care needs. We value our long-term family relationships and are proud of our satisfied patient testimonials. Contact us to have an Eye Associates professional take care of your eye health!
The information in this article should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.