We live in the digital age, and there are many times when misinformation gets widely circulated. In the medical field this often happens when patients use what may look like legitimate websites to find healthcare information but are actually looking at unreliable sources. When it comes to eye health, the same thing can happen. Patients hear something online or from a friend that sounds fairly reliable and they believe that it’s true. This process can become dangerous and can actually lead to damage to your precious eyesight, which is why it’s essential for you to have a trusted eye doctor that can answer your questions. Today, we want to share some common myths and misinformation about protecting your eyes:
Wearing your eyeglasses or contacts all the time is bad for your eyes: This sounds reliable, but the truth is that if you need glasses or contacts for reading or long-distance vision, you should wear them. Choosing not to wear glasses or contacts when you need them actually puts more strain on your eyes and causes eye fatigue. What is also true is that once you become comfortable with your correct prescription, you will have an easier quality of life with improved eyesight. Furthermore, wearing your glasses does not harm your eyes, as long as you are wearing the appropriate prescription and are under the supervision of a trained eye doctor. Lastly, if you wear contact lenses, be sure your contacts are fitted properly to your eyes because ones that are too small or large can cause long-term damage.
You only need an eye exam if you are having vision problems: The truth is that everyone should have regularly scheduled eye exams. Even if you don’t love undergoing annual healthcare appointments, Medical Eye Center can and will change your perception of what quality eye care entails. It can be comfortable and even enjoyable. Regular eye exams involve undergoing a series of tests to evaluate your vision and check for eye disease or progression of eye problems. An eye doctor uses various instruments and bright lights to evaluate all aspects of your eye health. Keeping up with annual (or the recommended interval for you) can help detect any challenges in their early stages which is when they are most treatable. Two positive things that result from eye exams are:
- Knowing whether you need vision correction through eyeglasses, contact lenses, or surgical intervention
- Knowing if your eyes are healthy or if you have cataracts, complications related to diabetes or glaucoma, or macular degeneration.
Reading in the dark will cause damage to your eyes: Many of us heard our parents tell us this myth when we tried to sneakily read under the covers when we should have been sleeping. In actuality, reading in low light does not cause damage to the eyes, but it does cause eye fatigue as the eyes try to keep up with poor lighting. It can also cause headaches. Whether the light is dim or bright, you may need reading glasses or an adjusted prescription if you struggle to make out the letters you are reading. In addition, as we age, the lenses of our eyes can lose their ability to accommodate to close or long distances which makes reading challenging. To help keep up with your latest hard-to-put-down book, be sure to use customized reading glasses from your optician.
Darker sunglasses protect the eyes: Although many appropriate sunglasses have darkened shades, it’s not about the color or level of darkness in the lenses. Instead, it’s essential to know the actual UV protection of the glasses you are wearing. Only sunglasses and prescription glasses that block 100% of UV rays will provide proper protection from the sun. Another myth is that the size of the lenses doesn’t really matter, but this is also untrue. The more coverage you have the less sun damage will be inflicted on the eyes, so look for ones that suit your face shape and that offer protection to your whole eye area. At Medical Eye Center, our experienced opticians can help you select styles in our optical department that will give you UV protection paired with the fashion style you prefer. Wraparound styles can also offer additional protection against dry eyes/wind.
As long as I see an eye doctor of some kind, it’s good enough: This is another common myth about eye health. The truth is that not all eye doctors are the same, and each type plays an important role in preserving your eye health. In fact, not all eye care professionals are doctors. The levels of training, experience and education are what separate each type. An ophthalmologist has graduated from medical school and has a minimum of twelve years of training. These types of eye doctors are licensed to practice medicine and surgery. An optometrist has completed a minimum of three years of college and four years of optometric training. They are equipped to perform eye exams and vision tests, prescribe corrective lenses and some medications, and to detect some eye diseases/abnormalities. Lastly, an optician is an eye professional who can prepare, measure and adjust eyeglasses or contact prescriptions. An optician is not an eye doctor, but has completed at least two years of training or 6,000 hours in apprenticeship.
If you are wondering about these myths or any other eye care concerns, the team at Medical Eye Center is standing by and ready to assist you. Be sure to call us with any concerns or challenges so that your eyesight hurdles can be tackled early on and with expertise.