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Debunking Common Eye Myths

When it comes to common eye myths, what is true and what is false?

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Photo: Thomas Hawk (Flickr)

No amount of eye exercises or rest can prevent you from needing glasses.

We’ve all heard random facts about eyes and wondered if they are true.  A Moment of Science will now try to dispel some of these eye myths.

Dim Light

My mom always told me not to read in dim light because it would ruin my eyes. Is this true?

With all due respect to concerned moms everywhere, no–reading in low or dim light does not literally damage eyesight.

Reading in low light does make the eyes work harder, though, and tires them out. So there is good reason to read with a nice, bright light shining directly onto the book.

Eye Exercises

Another common eye myth is that doing eye exercises can strengthen your eyes and delay the need for glasses. This simply isn’t true.

Whether or not you need glasses depends on the shape of your eyes and their health. And there’s not much you can do to change that.

Taking A Break

You may have also heard that it’s a good idea to take a break from wearing glasses or contacts. Maybe because the more you wear them, the more dependent your eyes become on corrective lenses. But that’s not the case.

If you need glasses to see and you don’t wear them, your eyes will become strained and tired. If you have glasses or contacts, do your eyes a favor and wear them regularly.

Healthy Diet, Healthy Eyes

Some eye myths do contain a grain of truth–like the notion that eating carrots is good for the eyes. Carrots contain vitamin A, which helps strengthen sight. But other vegetables and fruits with lots of antioxidants are even better—especially berries and dark green leafy vegetables.

So there’s no magic formula for avoiding glasses. But there are ways to take good care of your eyes.

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