Debunking 7 Eyesight Myths
Many of us take most things for granted, especially the things we don’t really notice on a day-to-day to basis.
Our eyesight is one of those things. Whether you have perfect vision or whether you need glasses to see well, you don’t really think about it very often.
But if you were to lose your eyesight, your life would change drastically, wouldn’t it?
Just imagine not being able to see your friends and family, not being able to move around in most places, or never enjoying things like you used to…
That’s why it’s never too early to get to know your eyes! The earlier you start adopting healthy eyecare habits, the better you can preserve one of the most important of your five senses.
We’ve debunked a few myths so you can take proper care of your eyes and help your friends do the same!
1. Everyone uses contact lenses, so they must be safe!
According to a recent business report, the use of contact lenses is booming in Asia!
More and more people are using them either to correct their vision or to modify their appearance, which means it’s a fairly safe practice, right?
If not used properly, contact lenses can temporarily affect your eyesight or even permanently damage your eyes!
In order to avoid any discomfort, always make sure your hands are spotlessly clean before you handle anything going into your eyes, and your contact lenses should always be cleansed with the appropriate solution.
Never sleep with your contact lenses on, as this can dry and irritate your eye!
Sometimes contact lenses take some time to adapt to your eye, so some itching and/or discomfort may be felt at first.
But if the discomfort lasts too long or if it becomes painful, you should seek the opinion of a specialist as soon as possible!
Here are some more recommendations for proper contact lens use:
2. The pain I sometimes feel in my eyes is no big deal since it always goes away, right?
If you read a lot, if you spend a lot of time on your computer, or if you spend a lot of time outside in the bright sun you’ll sometimes feel pain in your eyes.
This happens to everyone, and it doesn’t mean you should panic and run to your doctor. The eye is a complex and fabulous organ that just like all our other organs, can get tired or tense.
Usually the pain will go away once you’ve relaxed your eyes for a while, meaning that you ought to take a vision break every now and then, especially when doing near work activities like reading and computer work.
Eye relaxation exercises and eye massages can help you relax your eyes when you think you’ve strained them by reading/writing/computing/watching TV for too long.
Even better, simply going outside and looking at far away objects helps you relax the eyes in a simple and natural way.
But don’t think these techniques will help you see any better, as there is no scientific evidence to support that. Beware of clever salesmen and slogans promising you to get rid of your glasses with their miraculous products or exercises!
So when should eye pain worry you?
If your vision is constantly blurry, distorted, cloudy, or spotty or if your eyes are regularly itchy, watery, irritated, dry, painful, or tired, then you need to go see an eyecare professional who will be able to determine the source of your discomfort.
Remember, the earlier you diagnose any sort of symptom, the better it can be treated.
3. Physical and mental health have no effect on my vision!
You may think that your vision is separate from the rest of your well-being, but they’re actually linked!
Your eyes are like any other organ in your body and the fact remains that your lifestyle impacts your eyesight, and vice-versa.
The most obvious example is the way diabetes affects the retina and can lead to progressive loss of vision.
This means that the way you live (i.e. the way you eat, exercise, or sleep) can have an impact on your eyesight.
It’s up to you to do everything to make this impact a positive one!
Here are some tips to make it happen:
4. Eating carrots can definitely improve my eyesight!
There is no scientific proof that any food item can have a beneficial effect on the eyes in particular.
Carrots, like many other vegetables, contain Vitamin A which is good for your body. Green leafy vegetables (spinach, kai lan), oily fish (salmon, tuna), non-meat protein sources (eggs, nuts, beans), and fresh fruits (tomatoes, oranges) contain omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and antioxidant vitamins such as C and E, all of which can protect the eyes from cataracts and age-related degeneration.
Eating a well-balanced diet also helps you maintain a healthy weight, which lowers your risk for diabetes. Diabetes increases the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy (damaged vision), glaucoma, and cataracts.
Remember, eating right helps you to keep your body (which includes your eyes!) fit and healthy!
Here’s how nutrition affects eyesight:
5. I’m young and healthy, I won’t need to check my eyesight until I’m around 40!
Even if you think you’re too young to have any vision-related problems, it is still necessary to get your eyes checked regularly!
You don’t need to be a doctor to understand that early diagnosis is better to treat any disease.
Have you ever seen little children wearing glasses? If so, you should know that most of them do so to correct a problem that was caught very early on, and may not require glasses when they get older.
But this wouldn’t have been possible if the specialists were not able to pinpoint the problem at its early stages.
Of course many people walk around and live just fine without even being aware that their eyesight is bad. But routine check-ups could allow them to see much better than they do now!
Here’s how doctors find out if you’re developing an eye condition:
6. Eyesight is inherited, so whatever I do I’ll never see perfectly!
Your eyesight is the result of a complex interplay of genetics with environmental factors.
It is true that if your parents wear glasses, there are chances you or your siblings will wear glasses, and if you wear glasses, chances are one or all of your children will do too.
But it is false to assume that all eye conditions are permanent for all people.
Children whose bad eyesight was inherited from their parents will not necessarily have their same condition, and if one of the parents has perfect vision then the odds are different for these children.
Environmental factors like taking care of your eyes and body, not doing too much near work, and doing outdoor sports can go a long way in protecting your eyesight and keeping you healthy.
Also, it’s not uncommon for people’s lifestyles to make eyesight deterioration slow down or stop, which means that by taking the right steps you can positively affect how your eyes are changing.
Here’s a simple explanation from a geneticist.
7. I don’t need to protect my eyesight, doctors and surgery can repair anything!
This is a tricky question, as it depends on what you mean by “repair”.
Sure, LASIK is one relatively fast and painless way to correct your eyesight. But it is not appropriate for all people, nor for all eye conditions.
Even if it is appropriate for what you have, you usually have to wait until your cornea and retina have matured, which means waiting until you’re at least 20 years old.
Also, since it is still a form of surgery, it is never 100% safe: there’s always some degree of risk involved in having your eyes cut open and then closed again by a laser. Also, don’t forget that Lasik just reshapes the outer thin layer (cornea) of your eyeball. It doesn’t slow down the natural ageing process!
If by “repair” you mean having a doctor replace a faulty eye with another one that has perfect 20/20 vision, then you’re in for a big disappointment…
A full eye transplant is still way out of reach. The eye is connected to the brain’s optic nerve, an area so complex and sensitive that medical science is not yet capable of making it happen.
8. * BONUS *
Here are some eye-related songs!