A woman looking up.

Everyone at one time or another has been told, “Don’t cross your eyes, they’ll stay that way,” or “Don’t sit so close to the TV or you will go blind.” But are these adages really true or have they just been said over and over to the point where we believe them? Read on to learn the truth behind these popular eye myths:

MYTH: Reading in dim light will hurt your eyes.

FALSE. Although it may give you a headache, reading in dim light will not damage your eyes. So if you catch your kid reading after bedtime under the covers with a flashlight, his or her eyesight is not in danger.

MYTH: Eating enough carrots will improve your prescription.

FALSE. Carrots contain vitamin A, which is essential for sight, but unfortunately eating bunches of carrots before your eye exam will do nothing to alter your result.

MYTH: People with weak eyes should avoid reading fine print or doing detail work.

FALSE. You cannot “wear out” your eyes by crocheting your new nephew’s baby shoes. This idea comes from the misconception that the eye is a muscle. It acts more like a camera which doesn’t differentiate between taking a picture of a blank wall versus an intricate pattern.

MYTH: Wearing poorly-fitting contact lenses cannot hurt your eyes.

FALSE. Poorly-fitting contact lenses are not only uncomfortable but can be harmful to the cornea of the eye. That’s why it’s important to have your eyes checked every 12-18 months by an ophthalmologist and to find the right lens for you. CooperVision is the only brand to carry all modalities and thereby can fit almost any patient. Try this ‘Find Your Contact Lens’ quiz to get started.

MYTH: If you cross your eyes, they’ll stay that way.

FALSE. Crossing your eyes for a long time may give you a headache, but no, they won’t stay that way. However, if your child has crossed eyes, he or she will not outgrow them. It is a condition called strabismus and requires treatment.

MYTH: Sitting too close to the TV will damage your eyes.

FALSE: 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.

So get out your needlepoint, turn down the lights, and prop yourself right in front of the TV. And if someone says something to you, tell them it’s all a myth.

Nothing in this blog post 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.
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