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Eye Care Facts and Myths

Reading in dim light is harmful to your eyes.

False. Using your eyes in dim light does not damage them. For centuries, all nighttime reading and sewing was done by candlelight or with gas or kerosene lamps. Good lighting does make reading easier and prevents eye fatigue, especially for people who wear bifocals.

Using computers can damage your eyes.

False. Working on computers or video display terminals (VDTs) will not harm your eyes. Often, when using a VDT for long periods of time, just as when reading or doing other close work, you blink less often than normal. This reduced rate of blinking makes your eyes dry, which may lead to the feeling of eye-strain or fatigue.

Try to take regular breaks to look up or across the room and consider the use of artificial tears. Looking at objects further away usually relieves the strain on your eyes. If your vision blurs or your eyes tire easily, you should have your eyes examined by an ophthalmologist.

Wearing the wrong kind of glasses hurts your eyes.

False. Eyeglasses are devices to improve your vision. While the correct glasses or contacts help you to see clearly, wearing a pair with the wrong lenses, or not wearing glasses at all, will not physically damage your eyes. However, children less than 8 years old who need eyeglasses should wear their own prescription to prevent the possibility of amblyopia or “lazy eye.”

Children outgrow crossed or misaligned eyes.

False. Children do not outgrow crossed eyes. A child whose eyes are misaligned may develop poor vision in one eye because the brain will “turn off” or ignore the image from the misaligned or “lazy eye.” The unused or misaligned eye will not develop good vision unless it is forced to work, usually by patching the stronger eye. 

An ophthalmologist should examine children who appear to have misaligned eyes. In general, the earlier crossed or misaligned eyes are treated the better. Treatment may include glasses, eye drops or surgery.

Eating Carrots improves your vision.

False. Carrots are rich in vitamin A, which is essential for sight, but many other foods also contain vitamin A. Only a small amount is necessary for vision. A well-balanced diet, with or without carrots, provides all the vitamin A necessary for good vision.

People with weak eyes should avoid reading fine print.

False. It is said that people with weak eyes, people who wear glasses, will “wear out” their eyes sooner if they read fine print or do a lot of detail work.
The concept of the eye as a muscle is incorrect. The eye more closely resembles a camera. A camera will not wear out sooner just because it is used to photograph intricate detail. You can use your eyes without fear of “wearing them out.”

Sitting close to the television can damage children’s eyes.

False. Children can focus up close without eyestrain better than adults. They often develop the habit of holding reading material close to their eyes or sitting right in front of the TV. There is no evidence that this damages their eyes, and the habit usually disappears, as children grow older. Children with nearsightedness (myopia) sometimes sit close to the TV to see the images more clearly.