Eye Care Facts and Myths
By: Roger M. Kaldawy, M.D.
Milford Franklin Eye Center
We have all been told by someone at some time, “You’ll hurt your eyes if you do that!” But do you really know what is or is not good for your eyes?
Test yourself with the following true or false statements and see how much you know about your eyes.
“Reading in dim light is harmful to your eyes.”
False. Using your eyes in dim light does not damage them. However, good lighting does make reading easier and can prevent eye fatigue.
“Using computers can damage your eyes.”
False. Working on computers will not harm your eyes. Often, when using a computer for long periods of time, just as when reading or doing other close work, you blink less often than normal. This reduced rate of blinking makes your eyes dry, which may lead to the feeling of eyestrain or fatigue.
Try to take regular breaks to look up or across the room. This should relieve the feeling of strain on your eyes. Keep the monitor between 18 to 24 inches from your face and at a slight downward angle. Also consider the use of artificial tears. If your vision blurs or your eyes tire easily, you should have your eyes examined by an ophthalmologist.
“Wearing the wrong kind of eyeglasses damages your eyes.”
False. Eyeglasses are devices used to sharpen your vision. Although correct eyeglasses or contacts help you to see clearly, wearing a pair with the wrong lenses, or not wearing glasses at all, will not physically damage your eyes. However, children less than eight years old who need eyeglasses should wear their own prescription to prevent the possibility of developing amblyopia or “lazy eye.”
“Children outgrow crossed or misaligned eyes.”
False. Children do not outgrow crossed eyes. A child whose eyes are misaligned may develop poor vision in one eye because the brain will “turn off” or ignore the image from the misaligned or lazy eye. Children who appear to have misaligned eyes should be examined by an ophthalmologist.
“Learning disabilities are caused by eye problems.”
False. Difficulties with reading, mathematics, and other learning problems in children are often referred to as learning disabilities. There is no strong evidence that vision problems cause learning disabilities. Children with learning difficulties often need help from teachers and people with special training. Before such treatment begins, make certain your child is seeing as well as possible.
“Sitting close to the television can damage children’s eyes.”
False. Children can focus at close distance without eyestrain better than adults. They often develop the habit of holding reading materials close to their eyes or sitting right in front of the television. There is no evidence that this damages their eyes.
“People with weak eyes should avoid reading fine print.”
False. It is said that people with weak eyes or people who wear glasses will “wear out” their eyes sooner if they read fine print or do a lot of detail work. The concept of the eye as a muscle is incorrect. The eye more closely resembles a camera. A camera will not wear out sooner just because it is used to photograph intricate detail.
“Wearing eyeglasses will cause you to become dependent on them.”
False. Eyeglasses are used to correct blurry vision. Since clear vision with eyeglasses is preferable to uncorrected vision, you may find that you want to wear your eyeglasses more often. Although it may feel as if you are becoming dependent on your eyeglasses, you are actually just getting used to seeing clearly.
“Older people who gain ‘second sight’ may be developing cataracts.”
True. Older individuals who wear reading eyeglasses sometimes find themselves able to read without their eyeglasses and think their eyesight is improving. The truth is they are becoming more nearsighted, which can be a sign of early cataract development.
“A cataract must be ‘ripe’ before it is removed.”
False. With older surgical techniques, it was thought to be safer to remove a cataract when it was “ripe.” With today’s modern surgical procedures, a cataract can be removed whenever it begins to interfere with a person’s lifestyle.
“Contact lenses can prevent nearsightedness from getting worse.”
False. Some people have been led to believe that wearing contact lenses will permanently correct nearsightedness so that eventually they won’t need either contacts or eyeglasses. There is no evidence that wearing contact lenses produces an improvement in vision.
“Eyes can be transplanted.”
False. Medical science has no way to transplant whole eyes. Our eyes are connected to the brain by the optic nerve. Because of this, the eye is never removed from its socket during surgery. The cornea, the clear front part of the eye, has been successfully transplanted for many years. Corneal transplant is sometimes confused with an eye transplant.
“Laser assisted cataract surgery is the same as traditional cataract surgery.”
False. The 5 best rankings Eye Hospitals in America offer bladeless laser assisted cataract surgery. We do offer exactly the same. Bladeless cataract surgery is all about aiming towards better precision, more safety and excellent outcomes. The laser advanced bladeless precision and ability to correct astigmatism translates into better likelihood of seeing well without glasses following cataract surgery. The same laser used in bladeless cataract surgery breaks up and softens the cloudy cataract so there is less ultrasound needed to remove the cataract. Less ultrasound translates into less energy used inside the eye and clearer corneas, which in turn helps producing better vision on the first day after the surgery. This becomes even more critical if you have a weak cornea or a small eye with a dense cataract.
It is always useful to separate fact from myth in eye care. Our eye center and ophthalmologists have state of the art equipment to diagnose and treat almost any eye problem. At Milford-Franklin Eye Center, we continue to support our communities during this health crisis we are living. We sterilize equipment between patients and screen all patients before they enter the building and before they register. With 2 offices in Franklin and Milford and a dedicated surgery center in Milford, no more need to travel hours for your eye care or surgery. We are the area’s leading eye care practice, and we continue to support our communities during this health crisis.