As children, many of us were told to avoid doing certain things that would damage our eyesight. For example, there’s a common saying that squinting, reading, or watching television up close would cause bad eyesight later in adulthood. Many parents also advised that eating your carrots will help make your vision better. Are these “common sense” sayings true? Let’s find out.
Myth #1: Squinting damages your vision—Squinting is a sign that you need glasses, contact lenses, or LASIK to correct your eyesight. It is a symptom, rather than a cause, of poor vision. According to Dr. Richard Rosen, the director of ophthalmology research at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, “Squinting is an attempt to make the pupil smaller—it lets in less light. By closing your lids together, it further enhances your focus.” People who squint frequently do not damage their vision, but many end up getting headaches as a side effect. If you find yourself having difficulty seeing or squinting a lot, have your vision checked by Dr. Feinerman.
Myth #2: Reading in dimly lit places or reading small print will eventually worsen your vision—More outside light will definitely help one see better, but the retina itself is not damaged by the amount of light it lets in in your eye. When it is dark, the eye’s pupil expands to let in more light, it is a natural response and does not damage vision. Focusing on small print causes strain on the eyes, but does not in itself cause damage.
Myth #3: Eating Carrots Will Improve Your Vision—It has been proven that diet is important to good vision, but it does not mean that eating more of a certain food will make your vision even more enhanced. An article on ABC News.com states that a diet deficient in vitamin A can lead to impaired vision, but ingesting more than the recommended daily amount will not improve one’s vision. In the U.S., vitamin A deficiency is not a problem. Foods high in vitamin A are carrots, liver, sweet potato, and dark, leafy greens. The nutrients found in dark leafy greens and egg yolks can even help prevent macular degeneration.
Although these myths were not proven to be true, the motives behind them are helpful. For example: Squinting does not cause bad vision, but can cause headaches, so it is best to avoid squinting. Whatever you may have been told as a child may not have been completely accurate, but is still helpful. However, if you want the best care for your vision, make consistent visits to Feinerman Vision Center.