Everyone’s heard them one time or another: don’t sit too close to the TV, it will hurt your eyes or don’t stare at the sun, you’ll damage your vision! There are hundreds of eye myths, but which ones are true and which are false? Read on to learn the facts.
MYTH: Sitting too close to the TV will hurt your eyes.
FACT: There is no evidence that sitting right in front of the TV can hurt your eyes. But if you see your child sitting very close, it may be a sign of nearsightedness.
MYTH: Reading in dim light can hurt your eyes.
FACT: While it may make your eyes feel tired or strained, reading in dim light will not cause permanent damage to your eyes.
MYTH: If you cross your eyes, they’ll stay that way.
FACT: It may be uncomfortable or cause a headache, but they will not stay that way. However, if your child’s eyes appear crossed all the time, bring him or her to an eye doctor. This is a condition called strabismus and it will not go away on its own.
MYTH: Using a nightlight will make a child nearsighted.
FACT: Nightlights will not harm your child’s eyes. If anything, they can help infants learn to focus and learn eye coordination.
MYTH: Looking straight into the sun can damage your eyes.
FACT: Simply put, it’s never a good idea to look directly at the sun. The intense ultraviolet (UV) light can cause blindness and has been linked to eye disorders such as solar retinitis, corneal dystrophy, and macular degeneration. An eclipse is the most dangerous time to stare at the sun because light spectrum that makes your pupils smaller is blocked but the dangerous rays are still there leaving your retinas more fully exposed. If UV exposure is of special concern to you, look into UV blocking contacts such as the Avaira line.
MYTH: Using artificial sweeteners will make your eyes more sensitive to light.
FACT: This one is surprisingly true. Certain artificial sweeteners like cyclamates can cause your eyes to be more sensitive to light. Other substances can have this effect as well: antibiotics, blood pressure drugs, diuretics, oral contraceptives, diabetes drugs.
MYTH: Using contacts can weaken your eyesight by making one dependent on them.
FACT: Contact lenses cannot make your eyesight weaker. Your prescription may change but that has nothing to do with your contacts. However, poorly fitting contacts can be harmful to the cornea so be sure to go to a licensed eye care provider to be properly fitted. Here’s our “Find an eye doctor” tool.
MYTH: Two blue-eyed parents can’t have a brown-eyed child.
FACT: Although rare, it is possible. Eye color is the most typical trait used when learning basic genetics, but it’s a bit more complicated than simply making a chart of “BB, Bb, and bb” combinations allowing for some greater variation of outcomes.
So next time someone tells you to back away from the TV or to turn the light on when you’re reading, you can politely decline and say, “it’s all a myth.”
“Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please see your eye care practitioner.”