Jul 10, 2023

Fact or Fiction? Test your eye health knowledge!

Were you told as a child that eating carrots would improve your vision? Wonder if screens and blue light negatively impact your eyesight? You are not alone! Below we share 8 common beliefs people may have about their eyesight and which are fact and fiction. Keep reading to test your knowledge!

Reading in low light hurts your eyes.

Fiction. Reading in low light does not permanently damage your eyesight, but it can cause eye strain. Symptoms of eye strain can include soreness around your eyes, headaches, and difficulty focusing. These are temporary and should go away once you stop reading or use a better light source.

Blue light blocking glasses prevent eye damage from watching screens.

Fiction. There is no conclusive evidence to suggest that exposure to blue light from computer screens, cell phones or flat-screen televisions causes eye damage. In addition, a 2017 review of research into the effect of blue light blocking glasses showed that there is no strong evidence to suggest that they improve eye health.

However, extended use of screens can cause eye fatigue, blurry vision, and dry eyes. In children, prolonged use of screens can also lead to a vision condition called myopia, or nearsightedness.

It is important when using screens to take frequent breaks. The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends the 20/20/20 rule: look away from the screen every 20 minutes, focus on an object at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.

Being outdoors is good for your eyesight.

Fact. There are several studies that suggest spending time outside in daylight can help prevent or delay nearsightedness in children. Researchers are unclear on why daylight helps, but it could be because exposure to sunlight releases a chemical called dopamine which impacts the eye or because of higher vitamin D levels that occur after being in the sun.

Another reason might be because when children spend time outside, their eyes are constantly changing focus, causing the eyes to be more relaxed. No matter what the reason, encouraging children to play outside and reduce screen time has been shown to have a positive effect on their vision.

You can harm your vision by looking at the sun.

Fact. While spending time outdoors is good for your eye health, you should never look directly at the sun. Increased exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun can damage the retina and increase your risk of cataracts and eye cancer. Wearing sunglasses that block UV light are important to maintain your eye health.

Smoking is bad for your eye health.

Fact. Smoking is a major risk factor for many eye diseases. Toxic chemicals released by cigarettes can damage sensitive tissues in the eye, including the retina. Over time this damage can contribute to vision loss.

Eating lots of carrots will improve your eyesight.

Fiction. Eating lots of carrots alone (or any type of food) cannot improve your vision. However, there is some evidence that certain nutrients like antioxidants, vitamin A, C and E, and beta-carotene can help slow the progression of some eye conditions, including macular degeneration. Eating a balanced diet that includes leafy greens and a wide variety of colourful vegetables is important for both eye and overall health.

Losing vision is a natural part of aging.

Fiction. There are several conditions that can cause vision loss as we age, including age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts. If caught early, these conditions can be treated to prevent vision loss. If you notice any changes in your vision, visiting your eye doctor is essential to rule out any problems and start treatment as early as possible if something is amiss.

Only get your eyes checked if there’s a reason.

Fiction: Some eye conditions, including glaucoma, don’t have any symptoms at early stages. Having regular eye exams can help diagnose and treat problems early before they lead to irreversible damage.

In addition, if you notice any changes in your vision, including blurring, increased “floaters”, light flashes or pain, it is important to get it checked out as soon as possible as these can be signs of a more serious problem.

Image is of a mother holding her child, smiling, with text overlaid on the image that states, "Your gift brings hope to over 8 million living with a blinding eye disease."

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