But I always find it interesting what my patients think they know or have heard about somewhere along the way.
So I thought with this post, I would address some common (mis)beliefs about vision and the eyes.
1. If I start wearing glasses, my eyes will get weaker and become dependent on them. This is the most common misconception that I hear. It’s kind of like saying “if I start taking my car everywhere, my legs will get weaker.” Okay, maybe not the greatest analogy. But the point is once you realize how much better you can see with the proper prescription, the more likely it is you will notice how much more difficult the alternative can be.
2. If I lose a contact lens in my eye, can it roll back in to my head behind my eye? Anatomically impossible. No worries on this one.
3. My vision is good because I’ve been eating a lot of carrots. Thanks to DiscoveryHealth.com for the following: Carrots became associated with vision, particularly night vision, during World War II. The British Royal Air Force published a story that said skilled fighter pilot John “Cats’ Eyes” Cunningham could thank a steady diet of carrots for his night vision flying prowess. In response to the story, many British people began to grow and eat more carrots. They wanted to improve their vision so that they could see better during the compulsory blackouts that were common during World War II. Although Cats’ Eyes’ carrot eating made for a great story, it was, in fact, propaganda put out to conceal the fact that the Royal Air Force’s was actually using radar to locate Luftwaffe bombers during the night. Although British propaganda may have lent carrots a bit more vision-related cachet than they deserve, there’s still no doubt that the vitamins found in carrots can promote overall eye health.
4. I can read 20/20 letters, so my eyes must be healthy. An all too common vision myth. It would be nice for all of us if this one was true. Reading an eye chart can be quick and easy and tell an eye doctor a lot about one’s vision, but it doesn’t tell us much about the overall health of the eyes.
The eye chart doesn’t tell us how high the pressure is in your eyes. It doesn’t tell us if you have the early signs of dry eyes, diabetes, high blood pressure or a tumor growing in the back of the eye. All of these may be found during a thorough eye exam. And it doesn’t matter if you’re 8 or 88 years old.
5. Vision automatically gets worse with age. Not necessarily. I’ve seen plenty of patients whose vision improved as they got older. It’s not always easy to point to the reason why it happens, but it does.
6. There is no difference between generic and brand name contact lens solutions. Well, actually there really is. Generic solutions use a preservative called polyaminopropyl biguanide and according to the study on www.staininggrid.com, has a 10 times greater likelihood of causing ocular surface irritation versus our top recommended solution: Optifree Pure Moist.
7. If mom and dad have good vision, then it seems natural that all their offspring will have good vision too. This ought to be the case, but it’s not. On more than one occasion I’ve seen a mom brought to tears because she couldn’t understand where her son’s poor vision came from. If the child’s eyes are healthy, then poor vision results from imperfect anatomy of the eye such as it being too long or too short. Also keep in mind that the vision demands on the kids today are not the same as they once were, with iPads, iTouch and i-everything.
If I think of more vision myths, I will add them or if you want more information on something you’ve heard, please add to the comment section below!
- Medical Myths: Eating carrots will improve your night vision. (nocturnalmd.wordpress.com)
- The Healthy Eye (everydayhealth.com)