As a doctor of optometry, I hear it all. And with Dr. Google serving as an impromptu family physician these days, myths regarding eye health are bound to circulate. Here are the top vision myths debunked:
- Wearing eyeglasses that are too strong or have the wrong prescription will damage the eyes.
Prescription lenses in eyeglasses alter light rays into the eye. The prescription lenses do not change any part of the eye. In an adult, wearing glasses that are too strong or an incorrect prescription cannot harm the eye, although it may result in eyestrain or a temporary headache. With an incorrect prescription, vision will be blurry, but not harmful to the eye.
- Wearing eyeglasses will cause you to become dependent on them.
Eyeglasses are used to correct blurry vision. Since clear vision with eyeglasses is preferable to blurry vision, one may want to wear eyeglasses more often. With glasses, it may feel that you are becoming dependent on them. However, you are actually just getting used to seeing clearly.
- Wearing eyeglasses will weaken the eyes
Eyeglasses worn to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, or presbyopia will not weaken the eyes. In addition, glasses will not permanently “cure” these types of vision problems. Wearing glasses will enable clear vision caused by these refractive errors. (There are exceptions – glasses for children with crossed eyes (strabismus) or lazy eye (amblyopia). These glasses are used to help straighten the eyes or improve vision. Not wearing glasses may permanently impair vision).
- Using the eyes too much will “wear them out.”
Eyes are made for seeing and cannot be used too much. We would not lose our sense of hearing by using our ears excessively.
- Holding a book too close or sitting too close is harmful to the eyes.
Many children like to hold books very close to their eyes. Children have excellent focusing ability, so sitting close is normal and safe. Also, both children and adults who are nearsighted may get close to a book to see it clearly. This does not cause or worsen any type of eye problem.