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Have you gotten any advice lately about how to protect or improve your vision? If this advice didn’t come directly from your Kansas City ophthalmologist or the trusted staff at your eye care clinic, there’s a chance these claims may be bogus. There are tons of cautionary tales floating around about your eyes, most of which are totally fictional. Can you tell the difference between fact and fiction when it comes to what’s best for your eyes? Keep reading to learn the truth about seven of the most common eye myths.

Eye Myths

1. Sitting too close to the TV and watching for too long causes permanent eye damage.

False: Parents have been urging their kids to move away from TVs and reduce the amount of time they spend watching for ages. Sitting too close won’t result in permanent eye damage, but it can cause eyestrain, particularly in adults. Children, however, have the ability to focus at closer distances, so they are less likely to experience eyestrain.

2. Dark sunglasses are the only way to protect your eyes from UV rays.

Not necessarily: It’s incredibly important to stay vigilant and protect your eyes (and skin) from the sun’s harsh ultraviolet rays. But dark shades aren’t the only way to accomplish that. Many clear eyeglasses have UV-blocking chemicals applied to the lenses to protect your eyes. You can also limit UV damage by wearing a wide-brim hat and avoiding direct sunlight during the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

3. Reading in a dark room is bad for your eyes.

Not true: Similar to TV-watching, reading in dim light can result in eyestrain. You can certainly see better with more light, but poor lighting won’t weaken your eyesight.

4. You only need an eye exam if you’re experiencing problems.

Fiction: Everyone, including infants (around 6 months of age) and children, should get regular eye exams — regardless of whether you experience any noticeable vision problems. Routine screenings at your eye care clinic help your eye doctor catch vision problems before they worsen. If there’s a family history of vision problems, children should be checked earlier and more often.

5. Your eyes become dependent when you wear glasses for too long.

False: Despite what many think, wearing the correct prescription eyeglasses for your eyes doesn’t weaken them or make you dependent on the glasses. The natural aging process is generally the reason people need a stronger prescription over time; the glasses themselves aren’t worsening your eyesight.

6. Eating carrots ensures you’ll have good vision.

Not exactly: Carrots contain carotenoids, which convert to Vitamin A in your body, and Vitamin A is essential to the health of your eyes. Other carotenoids include sweet potatoes, papaya and kale. However, only a small amount of Vitamin A is necessary to support vision health. A nutritious diet rich in vitamins and minerals can adequately support eye health, so eating lots of carrots won’t make a difference.

7. You are bound to develop your parent’s vision problems.

Not necessarily: While it’s true that many vision problems are genetic, that doesn’t mean you are bound to suffer from them. Glaucoma, for example, is certainly passed down through families, but some conditions like cataracts are merely related to age.

The best course of action is to visit your Kansas City eye doctor regularly to discuss ways you can protect your vision and limit your chances of developing any serious eye conditions.

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