Vision has its share of old wives’ tales, including everything from habits that will cause permanent damage to your sight to dietary cures for vision loss. While some of these are fairly obviously not true, some vision myths may surprise you. We can tell you right up front that your eyes won’t get stuck if you cross them, and babies don’t really see very much when they’re born — despite beliefs to the contrary. Modern science has helped debunk most vision myths, as well as offer possible explanations for real-life issues.
Eye strain. How many people have been told they’ll go blind from reading in dim light or from sitting too close to the TV? While these practices may cause eye strain, it is no more permanent than the soreness from overworking muscles on a particularly vigorous day at the gym. In fact, many children can actually focus on things much closer and for longer periods of time than adults can without even suffering eye strain.
Diet. Eat your carrots, they’ll help you see. Or — not. While carrots do have nutrients that are important for eyesight (and a number of other bodily functions), they aren’t any more potent or selective than many other types of fruit and vegetables. Taking your multivitamins or following USDA dietary regulations for fresh produce consumption will have just as much — if not more — positive effect on your vision.
Ability to see. Some people believe that it’s normal not to be able to see at night and that wearing glasses can make your eyes dependent, worsening your uncorrected vision. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, “Night blindness can be a symptom of an eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa and should be checked out by an eye doctor.” As for the glasses, wearing the right prescription won’t hurt your eyes and certainly won’t encourage them to get worse; on the other hand, not wearing glasses when you should may cause headaches and eye strain.
Symptoms from eye problems. Possibly one of the most prevalent vision myths, and one of the most difficult to identify as a myth, is that any eye problems will affect your vision or cause pain. On the contrary, most serious vision problems do not have any symptoms until they have already caused permanent damage. The only way to detect a lot of these problems early enough is through regular eye examinations.