We all treasure our vision but many of us still believe myths about how we can keep our eyes healthy. Here, according to Harvard Medical School experts and others, are the top commonly believed myths about protecting your eyes and the truth.
1. Doing eye exercises will eliminate the need for glasses.
Fact: Eye exercises do not improve or preserve vision, help your eye health or reduce the need for glasses. Your eyesight depends on many factors such as the shape of your eyeball and eye tissues that can change over time. A regular eye exam is the best way to keep your vision intact and ensure that you have the correct prescription for your eyes. No amount of exercise can substitute for expert care — or wearing glasses if needed.
2. Reading in dim light hurts your vision.
Fact: Dim light doesn’t hurt your vision, say Harvard experts. However, improper lighting will tire your eyes. It’s best to read with a light shining directly onto the page and not over your shoulder. Vison experts recommend using an opaque shaded desk lamp that can be positioned directly over the reading material.
3. Carrots are the best food for your eyes.
Fact: While it’s true we don’t see rabbits wearing glasses (!), carrots, which contain vitamin A, aren’t the only superfoods for your eyes. In fact, fresh fruits and dark leafy greens, which contain antioxidant vitamins such as C and E, are superior choices for eye health. Antioxidants also can help protect your eyes against cataracts and other age-related conditions like macular denegation. A study published in the journal Nutrients found that lutein and zeaxanthin, which are found in parsley and egg yolks, have been linked to a lower risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
4. Staring at a computer screen all day is bad for the eyes.
Fact: While staring at a computer screen cannot damage your eyes, it can lead to eye strain and tired eyes. Experts suggest taking breaks every 20 minutes and looking at something in the distance for a few minutes to give your eyes a rest. Most people who stare at computer screens tend to blink less frequently than normal so their eyes become dry and uncomfortable. Make a conscious effort to blink on a regular basis so that your eyes stay lubricated. Also, adjust the lighting in your work station so that it doesn’t cause glare or harsh reflection on the screen. Your monitor should be at least 18 inches away from your face, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
5. You don’t need regular eye exams if you don’t have obvious vision problems.
Fact: Routine eye exams are essential says Anne Sumers, M.D. an ophthalmologist in Ridgewood, New Jersey. She reports in Everyday Health that many serious eye conditions don’t cause symptoms. In many cases, the only way to know if there is a problem is with an eye exam. “The general rule is to visit the ophthalmologist every two ears,’ she says. “People typically develop problems like glaucoma, for example, after the age of 40, and you may not have any symptoms until you lose your vision. Early diagnosis and treatment prevent blindness.” Those over the age of 65, should have a yearly exam.