You have likely heard many myths about what is good and bad for your eyes and vision. When it comes to your eye health, it’s important to know and understand the facts. Bianca Kizy, M.D., a comprehensive ophthalmologist at Ophthalmic Specialists of Michigan, educates patients on the realities of preserving their eyesight by addressing 5 common eye-related misconceptions.
1. Failure to use proper glasses or corrective lenses will damage your eyesight.
For adults, the correct prescription may improve vision, but using the eyes without glasses or contacts will not damage the eyes further. Similarly, wearing the incorrect prescription should not cause lasting damage, but may cause eye aches and blurry vision. This does not apply to young children, who may need to wear glasses to develop normal vision.
2. Reading in dim lighting can hurt your eyes.
Reading in dim lighting does not directly cause any eye damage. Certain eye conditions, however, like cataracts or retinal disease, may make it more difficult to see in dim lighting. New difficulty with dim lighting should prompt an eye exam.
3. Eye exams are only necessary if you are experiencing vision issues.
Having 20/20 vision does not mean you should skip out on visits to your ophthalmologist’s office. “Routine eye exams are a critical preventive service, as we [doctors] can detect diseases and reveal health concerns before they become big issues,” Dr. Kizy explains. It’s important to prioritize regular eye appointments as you do checkups with your primary care provider.
4. Too much screen time will damage your eyes.
For adults, the amount of time spent looking at a phone, computer or TV screen does not directly damage your eyes. “Like other parts of your body, overworking your eyes can cause strain and contribute to dry eye,” says Dr. Kizy. For those who struggle minimizing screen time due to work or school, Dr. Kizy recommends the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds to divert your vision 20 feet away to give your eyes a break. Blinking frequently and using artificial tear drops during screen time can also be helpful.
5. Eyeglasses fix all vision problems.
Although prescription glasses and contact lenses can correct blurred vision in many cases, there are other factors that lead to vision loss. “I frequently have patients come in with issues that require medical procedures to correct their vision,” says Dr. Kizy. “Many of them ask, ‘Can’t I just get glasses?’” There are plenty of factors that can contribute to low vision that require additional treatment. Issues such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration, many of which are age-related, may require other treatments like surgery, medications, injections or lasers.
If you are suffering from low vision or vision loss, contact your ophthalmologist to schedule an appointment.