3 Myths About Your Eyes

People of all ages wear glasses. From an evolutionary perspective, you may wonder why humans need corrective lenses in the first place. Shouldn’t our eyes work fine without them? There are several theories about this, but there’s no clear answer. The good news is that humans invented eyeglasses a few hundred years ago, which made poor vision much less of a disadvantage. Since the invention of glasses, advances in science and medicine have drastically changed the ways we think about vision. Let’s look for the truth regarding three myths about eyes and eyesight.

Myth: Reading In the Dark Is Bad For You

Well, it’s not exactly great for you, to be fair. However, that doesn’t mean reading by the light of a lamp in bed is going to lead your eyesight to deteriorate faster. Experts say it can make your eyes strained or tired, but it won’t create permanent damage. One opthalmologist explained that using poor light to read “may create fatigue, but it cannot hurt your eyes in any way.”

It is wise to give your eyes a break. Adults check their phones once every 10 minutes on average, and we spend hours every day looking at some type of screen. Heavy computer usage is inevitable, whether you’re an engineer, journalist, or online advertising agency account manager. Think of reading like any other exercise — if your legs feel tired when running, that means you need a break. And needing a break doesn’t mean you’re injured. Similarly, feeling symptoms of eye fatigue usually means you need to let your eyes rest for a bit. Look away from the screen regularly, and make sure you’re getting enough sleep at night.

Myth: If Family Members Wear Glasses, So Will You

While there is a genetic component to vision, it isn’t the same thing as a genetic guarantee. If your parents are nearsighted, then it makes sense that you’d have higher odds to be nearsighted, too. That in no way means you’ll be fitted for your first pair of glasses by a specific birthday, though. You may make it until middle age without needing glasses. You may never need them at all.

That said, you should talk to an eye doctor if you have a family history of certain eye issues. Doctors know the worrisome symptoms and signs to look out for, and they can tell you if it’s an issue that can be corrected with glasses or contacts or if it’s something that requires a referral to a specialist.

Myth: You Don’t Need Sunglasses Unless it’s Bright

Sunglasses are undeniably cool. But their appeal isn’t strictly cosmetic. For one thing, they protect your eyes from sun damage, but only if you buy the right kind. Don’t cheap out on sunglasses from the bargain bin. Instead, you’ll need to get glasses that are rated for both UVA and UVB protection.

If it’s a cloudy day, do you really need to go outside with sunglasses on? If you can bother wearing sunscreen on a cloudy day (and you should), then you also need to be wearing sunglasses. The sun can do a lot of damage when you’re least prepared for it. Research says 80 percent of the sun’s UV rays can pass through clouds, so grab your sunglasses on your way out the door every morning regardless of the season. Snow can also reflect UV rays, which is how people end up with a bad sunburn after a weekend in Aspen. It might feel a little weird at first to wear sunglasses in January, but you’ll adjust in no time. Best of all, your eyes will thank you later.

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