Myths about vision date back to ancient times. While some of these myths are old wives tales, others are scientifically proven to be true. We set the facts straight on some common myths regarding vision and wearing reading glasses:
Myths About Eyeglasses
Eyeglasses cause vision to get worse over time: False
Wearing eyeglasses will never cause your eyesight to get worse; they are simply an aid to improve vision. People who easily see up-close reading material without glasses may find they cannot do so as they age – usually up-close vision starts to deteriorate around age 40. As these aging individuals begin to need stronger prescriptions some assume wearing glasses made their eyes worse. In reality, they are probably just experiencing presbyopia, which is the inability to focus on near objects due to the aging of the eye.
Another cause of this myth could be that many people live with incorrect vision for years before they get glasses. After they finally get glasses and can see clearly, some claim their vision is worse because they can no longer see without glasses. Doctors say this is usually a patient who learns to appreciate good vision, and thus more easily recognizes the obvious difference between correct vision and something worse.
Bottom line, glasses do not weaken eyesight, vision gets weaker with age.
If you wear glasses not wearing them will cause your vision to deteriorate faster: False
If you need glasses, the side effect of not wearing them is the equivalent of an art show: everything will be out of focus and will look an impressionist painting. Trying to focus without glasses will not hurt your eyes, but it can lead to eyestrain or excessive squinting, which could cause unpleasant symptoms such as headaches.
The primary side effect of not wearing glasses is temporary and at most will cause you to be uncomfortable.
Over the counter glasses can hurt your eyes: False
Using reading glasses will not hurt your eyes. Wearing glasses that have too weak or too strong of a prescription could cause eyestrain, but will not cause any long term damage to your vision. Where people go wrong with over-the-counter-glasses is if their eyes have two different prescription needs. Typically, the lenses of store-bought reading glasses contain the same prescription. This is why it is important to go to the optometrist to receive a prescription.
Over-the-counter glasses are essentially different levels of magnifying lenses in stylish frames, and work well for many people, as long as their eyes need the same amount of correction.
Wearing glasses makes your eyes stronger: False
Wearing glasses makes your vision clear, but does not have any impact on your actual prescription. Your prescription will change the same amount whether you wear glasses every day or not.
Myths About Vision
Sitting too close to the TV is bad for your eyes: False
Although parents have been saying this since the TV made its way into living rooms, this rumor is no longer true. Before the 1950s, television sets emitted levels of radiation that could cause eye problems after repeated and extended exposure. Nowadays, TVs have proper shielding so radiation is no longer an issue, just an old wives tale from your grandparent’s era.
Eating carrots can improve eyesight: False
While carrots will not improve your vision, they are known to help protect vision. Carrots contain vitamin A, which studies show reduces the impact of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
If you see fine, your eyes are healthy and you don’t need an exam: False
Many eye and vision problems have no obvious signs or symptoms. It is important to make annual visits to the eye doctor to receive comprehensive eye exams. Through exams, doctors can detect signs of health conditions such as brain tumors and diabetes before physical symptoms are present.
Reading in dim light will hurt your eyes: False
Reading in the dim light will not make your eyes worse, but it causes your eyes to strain. In low light, your visual muscles get mixed signals: Relax to collect the most light, but at the same time contract to maintain the focused image. When lighting is poor, focusing becomes more difficult because the contract between the words and the page is not great, which decreases the eye’s ability to distinguish real detail. Your eyes have to work harder to separate words from the page, which strains your eye muscles.
When your eyes work hard for a long time they become tired. The strain could result in effects such as headaches, eye soreness, or itching eyeballs. All of these symptoms are temporary and will not cause long term damage to your eyesight.