Chances are you've heard a lot of different pieces of information over the years about your vision. There are, of course, some supposed myths that are actually true (it turns out carrots really are good for your eyes and yes, if you stare directly at the sun you can seriously damage your vision). Unfortunately, there is also a lot of misinformation that, if followed, can negatively impact your eye health. Below are five of the biggest myths about your vision.
Myth #1: There's nothing you can do to prevent poor vision
Many people with vision problems often believe it is something that is unavoidable due to genetics or the effects of aging. While genetics and aging play a natural role in your overall eye health, there are many actions that can be taken to improve your overall vision, including eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and controlling your cholesterol levels. Most importantly, going for regularly scheduled eye exams will allow your optometrist to detect vision issues before they become more serious, offering treatment and prevention options that can help ensure your vision doesn't worsen.
Myth #2: You don't need an eye exam if there's no change in your vision
This is one of the biggest eye health myths out there and unfortunately, those who believe this one put themselves at risk. It is a common misconception that, in the absence of any dramatic changes in vision, there's no need to get an eye exam. In reality, many eye conditions often go unnoticed, with symptoms only appearing in later stages, at which time it may be too late for reversal or optimal treatment. This is why Health Canada’s recommendation to get regular eye exams - at least once every two years for adults, and once a year for kids and seniors - is so important.
Myth #3: Reading in low light will damage your eyes
A camera isn't necessarily going to stop working just because it's operating in the dark; the same analogy holds true for your eyes. In low light, your pupil becomes enlarged to let in more light and allows you to see more clearly. While reading in low light for long periods of time might cause a strain on your eyes (leading to headaches and eye fatigue), it's not likely to have any long-term effects on your vision. While low light may not cause lasting effects, blue light from electronic devices does. Increased exposure to blue light can impact your vision and lead to macular degeneration. However, tech companies have been working hard to reduce our exposure to this harmful light. Your iPhone and iPad, for example, now have night mode capabilities. When activated, blue light is removed, the screen is dimmed, and you are able to use your devices without worrying about damaging your eyes. Another option to protect your eyes from blue light, is to use lenses that have a blue blocker lens coating. These glasses are ideal for people who are using monitors and devices for long periods of time, especially when the device doesn’t have the capability to remove the blue light from the screen. FYidoctors offers blue blocker lens coatings. Inquire with your local FYidoctors clinic for product availability.
Myth #4: Squinting will damage your eyes
While it's true that squinting may be a sign you need corrective eyewear, there's no harm to your vision if you find yourself squinting a lot. In fact, squinting is your body’s way of making the pupil smaller to let in less light. This is a reflex your eyes have when they are irritated or exposed to a sudden change in light. Some people naturally squint more than others, which can lead to headaches and eye fatigue due to the constant contraction of the muscles in and around your eyes. Imagine if you were to hold a dumbbell in your raised hand. Eventually your arm would get tired due to the overuse of your muscles. Once you release and relax your arm, however, the tension would subside and there would be no long lasting damage. The act of squinting your eye works in a similar manner. It can cause tension and fatigue in the moment, however, it isn’t likely to cause any serious long-term effects. If you do find yourself squinting a lot, schedule an eye exam to eliminate any vision issues as the culprit.
Myth #5: Wearing glasses or contacts will actually make your eyes worse
A lot of people mistakenly believe that their corrective eyewear becomes a type of crutch, and that eventually their eyes will somehow grow dependent on them and begin to worsen further. This is completely untrue. Glasses or contacts help correct your vision issues; they don't make them worse. What may lead some people to believe this myth is the presence of blurry vision in the absence of their corrective eyewear. The contrast between the clarity (when eyewear is on) and the blurriness (when eyewear is off) could make it seem that their eyesight has worsened or that they have become dependent on the corrective eyewear. In reality, blurred vision occurs when the refractive lens in your eye becomes less flexible. Over time, due to the natural aging process, this lens continues to become less flexible, resulting in worsening eye sight. Glasses and contact lenses correct your refractive lens, allowing you to see clearly. Glasses don’t act as a crutch, but as a corrective tool that can actually help slow the effects of certain conditions, allowing you to see better for longer periods of time.
To learn more about your vision or to book a complete eye exam, visit an FYidoctors location near you.