There are so many myths surrounding the eyes. It’s only natural, as our eyesight is so important and everyone has a theory on better ways to preserve it. Don’t stare too close at the sun, don’t sit too close to the telly, don’t read in the darkness.
All of these myths sound fair and logical, but are they all true? Well, Milan, Miami and Melbourne eye specialists all have a pretty good eye-dea about such things, and are generally in agreeance about the following myths (as well as the world’s extended ophthalmologist community).
Fact: There is no evidence to suggest that sitting directly in front of the television can damage your eyes. However, if you find yourself, or your family member, sitting too close to the telly, it could be a sign of nearsightedness.
Fiction: Reading in poor, low light will damage your eyes.
Fact: Reading in low light may not directly damage your eyesight, but it can cause eye strain or a feeling of tiredness. These feelings can be unpleasant, so best to avoid reading in such light where possible.
Fiction: Crossing your eyes will cause them to stay that way forever.
Fact: Whilst it may cause a headache or generally feel uncomfortable, crossing your eyes will not make them trapped in such a way. However, if your child’s eyes are constantly crossed, you might want to take them to an eye specialist. This is an eye condition called strabismus and, unfortunately, it requires optical help to fix.
Fiction: Using a nightlight will make your child nearsighted.
Fact: There is no evidence to suggest that nightlights harm a child’s eyes. They can even help them to learn eye coordination and focus.
Fact: DO NOT STARE AT THE SUN. Please do not look directly into the sun, just don’t do it. The sun produces ultraviolet (UV) light that can cause blindness and has been linked to eye conditions including corneal dystrophy, muscular degeneration and solar retinitis. There has been a bit of talk about sun gazing in recent years, but take it from experienced eye professionals – it simply is not a good idea.
Furthermore, do not stare at the sun during an eclipse. The light spectrum that makes your pupils smaller becomes blocked but the harmful rays remain, leaving your retinas completely exposed.
So just don’t do it – it’s as simple as that.
Fact: Consuming artificial sweeteners will make your eyes more sensitive to different forms of light. This is true. There are different kinds of artificial sweeteners that can make your eyes more sensitive to light. Other substances that can make your eyes more sensitive to light include oral contraceptives, diabetes drugs, diuretics, blood pressure drugs and antibiotics.
Fiction: Contact lenses make your eyesight weaker.
Fact: Contact lenses don’t weaken your eyesight. Your need for stronger contacts may increase over time but this comes down to a range of different factors and not your current contact usage. This being said, poorly fitted contacts can be damaging to the cornea so ensure you get the right ones for your eyes from a proper provider.
Fiction: It is impossible for two blue-eyed parents can’t have a brown-eyed child.
Fact: It is rare, but it can happen. Eye colour is the most common train in basic genetics, and that is why it can be surprising for two blue-eyed parents to have a brown-eyed child. It’s just not as simple as we think, and there is the possibility of greater variations.
So, there you have it. Don’t let someone tell you not to read in the car at night, care about eyes – if you want to do it, you can. Just give it a rest if your eyes start to hurt, but in the long run they will be fine.