When it comes to general health (and in our case, eye health), there are always questionable ideas that get passed from one generation to the next that go... well... unquestioned.
Some of these things you hear about don't make a lot of sense, but others may have some merit, yet remain unproven.
So here they are!
Eye Myth # 1: Carrots will help you see.
I like carrots and eat a lot of them. They have some lutein and beta carotene which is important for the eyes and can actually help with night vision. So technically, they could help you see.
But usually when I hear this, people are referring to the notion that "if I eat more carrots, then I won't have to wear glasses."
Carrots have NOT been shown to affect your prescription in any way.
Eye Myth # 2: Glaucoma can be cured with Marijuana.
Marijuana was shown to lower the intraocular pressure inside the eyes back in the 1970's. Intraocular pressure is a well known important risk factor for Glaucoma, and the standard medications like beta blockers, prostaglandins, and alpha agonist eye drops are all geared towards lowering the IOP.
If you have Glaucoma, your Optometrist or Ophthalmologist has probably explained to you that it's important to keep your eye pressure lower consistently all day and all night if possible. Marijuana doesn't lower the pressure all day. It only lasts 3 to 4 hours and so you'd have to take 6 to 8 doses of it each day to serve as a glaucoma medication. For that reason, you won't find eye doctors recommending marijuana for Glaucoma.
Eye Myth # 3: You can't get used to progressive lenses
Progressive lenses have been around a long time. A lot of people who are facing middle age will have to decide which to use - readers, bifocals or progressives. Lot's of them have probably heard a friend or a family member talk about how they can't get used to progressives. Most of these stories originate from the type of progressives that were prescribed back in the 1990's or even earlier. Think of how the technology of cars, computers, phones and t.v.'s have evolved over the last 20 years. It's not really much different with all the changes in progressive lenses.
While peripheral distortions on the edge of the lenses haven't been completely eliminated they've been minimized sometimes to a point of being inconsequential. The other important thing to note about these is there are dozens of brands and types. Some give you better distance vision, some give you good near vision, and some emphasize the intermediate vision.
If you're hesitant to go ahead an buy progressive lenses because you're fearful of them not working, we have a 45 day satisfaction guarantee and can choose from just about any brand you want.
Eye Myth # 4: Contact lenses are without risk
There's probably a lot of people who wear contact lenses and have slept with them in their eyes night after night who think there's no risk of harm.
This couldn't be further from the truth. Contact lenses are medical devices that can attract bacteria, fungi, and other pathogens leading to infections, some of which can be blindness. They can also cause surface dryness, corneal abrasions and swelling... all of which can harm your eyes and cause vision loss.
Eye Myth # 5: I see well and so I don't need my eyes checked
There's a lot of people who don't get a comprehensive eye exam until they're about 40 years old. That may have worked out okay for them, but since there are many harmful eye problems that can occur without symptoms, we recommend all our patients get checked once a year, even if they are seeing well.
Eye Myth # 6: Vision has nothing to do with reading problems or dyslexia
This myth has been perpetuated far too long and unfortunately has caused lots of unnecessary harm to children and adults who get misinformation.
Even most health care professionals get confused by this. I believe the confusion lies in the idea that 20/20 means perfect vision.
Even in scientific studies, researchers will conclude vision is normal if the subject has 20/20.
In reading, there's much more involved than just 20/20 sight.
There's ocular motor gaze control
There's accommodative control
There's visual perceptual skill.
All of these areas can either help or hinder reading performance.
If you do not buy into this idea, just try reading through a pinhole. You'll still have 20/20 but reading speed, reading comprehension and fluency will definitely suffer.
Eye Myth # 7: Blue light blocking lenses will save your eyes from disease.
This is a popular one in the last few years with more blue light blockers that are added onto anti glare coatings. Yes, the blue end of the light spectrum has been shown to increase the risk of Cataracts and Macular Degeneration but we don't really know much more than that. Additionally, the sun emits a much greater amount of blue light than the screens on your monitor or phone.
We still think the affect on circadian rhythms are valid though and find it important to limit blue light from screens at least a couple hours before bed to maximize quality sleep.
Eye Myth # 8: Kids don't need glasses
I still get this from people when they bring their kids in for eye exams. I'm not sure if people really believe this one or if they just really don't want their kids wearing glasses.
Eye Myth # 9: If I wear my glasses, my eyes will get weaker.
Usually what happens here is that you get your glasses, get used to clear vision for a while, then remove them and think to yourself... "this is worse than before I got my glasses. They must be making my eyes worse!"
It's just perception. If the prescription is correct and appropriate for your needs, there's no reason why your glasses should make your vision worse.
This is especially true for Presbyopes. Trying to fight this inevitable change in the eyes by refusing your glasses will turn out to be futile. As my old optometry professor used to say, the three certainties in life are death, taxes, and Presbyopia.