Eyesight myths: Six old wives tales debunked

Boris Johnson suggests coronavirus affected his eyesight

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Your health is your wealth and you shouldn’t take your eyesight for granted. Unfortunately, there are so many myths surrounding vision and eyesight that it’s hard to tell the wheat from the chaff. To solve this, Express.co.uk breaks down the six most common myths around eyesight and explains why they’re false, according to The Mayo Clinic, Leightons Opticians and Hearing Care, and Lenstore UK.

Six eyesight myths debunked

Eating lots of carrots will help you see in the dark

I’m sure most Brits will have heard of this one, but it’s not true!

Lenstore explained: “Unfortunately, no matter how many carrots you eat, you won’t be able to see in the dark.

“However, carrots do contain a large amount of vitamin A, which is great for helping to protect the cornea.”

Your diet does have an effect on eyesight though, according to Leightons.

The experts explained: “Eggs, oily fish, fortified low-fat spreads, milk, yoghurt and green leafy vegetables are important to eye health.”

Reading in poor light will hurt your eyes

Reading in dimmed light will not damage your eyes, thankfully.

The Mayo Clinic’s experts said: “Before the invention of electric light, most nighttime reading and other work was done by dim candlelight or gaslight.

“Reading in dim light today won’t harm your eyes any more than it did your ancestors’ eyes or any more than taking a photograph in dim light will damage a camera.”

Lenstore added: “Reading in dim light can put a strain on your eyes through slowing down the blink rate, but it won’t harm your eyes.”

Wearing eyeglasses that are too strong or have the wrong prescription will damage your eyes

It’s not a good idea to wear eyeglasses that are too strong or have the wrong prescription, but it won’t harm your eyesight.

The Mayo Clinic explained: “Eyeglasses change the light rays that your eyes receive – they do not change any part of the eye itself.

“Wearing glasses that are too strong or otherwise wrong for your eyes cannot harm your eyes — although it might result in a temporary headache.

“At worst, the glasses will fail to correct vision and make you uncomfortable because of blurriness.”

Wearing eyeglasses will weaken your eyes

Eyeglasses worn to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism or presbyopia will not weaken your eyes any more than they will permanently solve these types of vision problems, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The advice reads: “Glasses are simply external optical aids that correct vision for people who suffer from refractive errors.

“Exceptions are glasses given to children with crossed eyes (strabismus) or lazy eye (amblyopia).

“These glasses are used temporarily to help straighten their eyes or improve vision.

“Not wearing such glasses in these instances may lead to permanently defective vision.”

Crossing your eyes may make them permanently crossed

This is untrue! Your eye muscles are meant to allow you to move your eyes in many different directions.

The Mayo Clinic expanded: “Looking left, right, up or down will not force your eyes to stay permanently crossed.

“Crossed eyes result from disease, from an uncorrected refractive error, or from muscle or nerve damage, not from forcing your eyes into that position.”

Staring at a TV or computer screen will ruin your eyesight

It’s hard to believe that staring at a screen all day won’t harm your eyes, but it’s true.

Leightons said: “Even though your mum used to swear you’d get square eyes from watching too much telly, screens aren’t as bad as the headlines might make out.

“Like most things in life, moderation is key and it’s important to take regular breaks away from your computer, TV, or phone screen.

“The 20/20/20 rule will have you covered: every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

“This should help prevent your eyes from getting tired and strained.”

However, research suggests that using devices before bed can upset our natural sleep patterns, so keep device usage to a minimum as bedtime approaches.

Anyone concerned about their eye health should speak to a medical professional.

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