10 Eye Health Myths That May Impact Your Eyes
Dr. Kenneth Van Amerongen wants to clear up 10 common myths about vision and eye health that could negatively impact your health. Understanding your eye health is the key to preserving your vision.
Myth 1: Dry/scratchy/red eyes are just part of life in Colorado since we live in an arid climate.
Fact: Colorado’s climate easily accelerates the evaporation of tears that we produce and can contribute to dry eye disease, but the actual cause of producing fewer tears is unknown. Dry eyes can also be influenced by hormonal changes, some medications, other illnesses/diseases, and aging. However, dry eyes and dry eye disease are treatable and preventable even in Colorado. If you have dry, scratchy, gritty, and/or red eyes from time to time a lubricating eye drop can provide relief. If you experience dry eyes more frequently or experience increasing discomfort, then schedule an eye exam with Dr. Van to fully understand and address your symptoms.
Myth 2: Not everyone gets cataracts.
Fact: Actually, everyone is prone to cataracts if they live long enough and most cataracts are age-related. More than half of Americans over the age of 80 have experienced cataracts and your risk for cataracts increases after age 40. Stave off the onset of cataracts by not smoking/vaping tobacco, limiting alcohol, reducing UVA/B exposure by wearing sunglasses and a hat, and eating a balanced diet with leafy greens, berries, and nuts.
Myth 3: An eye exam is only needed if I’m having a vision problem.
Fact: This is not true. Many eye health challenges can be present without symptoms, but these eye conditions can quietly progress until an individual’s vision is threatened and symptoms arise. To put this in perspective, 80% of all retinal disease is asymptomatic. Your eye health plan should include annual comprehensive eye exams for early detection and management of eye health diseases and conditions. A comprehensive eye exam looks at more than just visual acuity and can uncover more than 270 other health conditions that other exams can’t detect like some cancers, many auto-immune diseases, hypertension, stroke risk, and more.
Myth 4: If you cross your eyes they will stay that way.
Fact: This is simply not true. Misalignment of the eyes is called Strabismus and is typically due to an underlying health condition. Strabismus can be compensated with glasses and corrected by surgery and does not occur from simply crossing your eyes.
Myth 5: If I eat more carrots, my eyes will get better.
Fact: While carrots hold great nutrients for your eyes, they are best used in a balanced diet to prevent eye health issues and do not aid in correcting existing vision or eye health issues. In fact, when it comes to eye health, prevention is key. Most eye health and vision issues can only be managed or corrected and are not curable once they are present.
Myth 6: If you wear glasses, your eyes will get worse.
Fact: Your eyes change due to genetics, outside influences such as computer use, and not from seeing clearly. Some individuals feel that their vision is worse when they take off their glasses. What happens, in this case, is that the glasses are working to correct your vision, and when you take the glasses off, your brain is telling you that it likes the help of glasses. Remember, too, that your brain plays a large part in your vision.
Myth 7: If you don’t wear glasses, your eyes will get worse.
Fact: Your eyes change due to genetics, outside influences such as computer use, etc, and not from seeing blurry. Not wearing glasses or contacts will lead to eye strain from not seeing clearly.
Myth 8: If I wait to get reading glasses in my 40’s, I will keep my eyes stronger longer.
Fact: This theory only creates eye strain and eye fatigue. Age-related vision changes like the changes that occur after age 40, are due to the lens in your eye losing elasticity as you age. These vision changes are not due to a muscle that is losing its tone.
Myth 9: Contact lenses can get lost behind your eye or go into your brain. Fact: There is no way for contacts to get lost behind your eye. They can be hard to find, but they are there.
Myth 10: I can’t wear contacts because I have astigmatism.
Fact: Astigmatism occurs in 90% of the population and it is dealt with as easily as is nearsightedness. Most people can be fit with contact lenses, but you can also correct astigmatism with glasses or laser eye surgery.
Bonus! Myth 11: No news is good news.
Fact: You should stay on top of your health status. Comprehensive eye exams are your best chance at early detection of eye health issues and more than 270 other health conditions. Call Van’s Eyecare now to book your next exam.
From a patient of Dr. Van Amerongen: “The doctor is extremely thorough and caring about your eyes, unlike some optometrists who rush you in and out of the door. I’ve been going here for many years and will continue to do so! I highly recommend this doctor.”