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Eyes Have It: What You Can Do to Support Vision Health

Liz Merritt
October 1, 2016
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Of your five senses, which one are you most afraid of losing? If you’re like most people, the answer is your eyesight. Because our ability to see is so precious, it’s no wonder that myths abound about vision health.

Harvard Medical School debunked five common myths and how to keep our eyes in tip-top shape as we age.

Eyes Have ItMyth: Eye exercises will improve vision health

Fact: Eye exercises will not improve or preserve vision or reduce the need for glasses. Vision depends on many factors, including the shape of your eyeball and the health of the eye tissues, neither of which can be significantly altered with eye exercises.

Myth: Reading in dim light will damage your vision.

Fact: Dim lighting will not damage your eyesight, but your eyes will tire more quickly. The best way to position a reading light is to have it shine directly onto the page, not over your shoulder. A desk lamp with an opaque shade pointing directly at the reading material is ideal.

Myth: Carrots rule when it comes to eye health.

Fact: Carrots, which contain Vitamin A, are indeed good for the eyes. But fresh fruits and dark, leafy, green vegetables, which contain more antioxidant vitamins such as C and E, are even better. Antioxidants may even help protect the eyes against cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

Eye ExamMyth: Don’t wear glasses or contact lenses for too long.

Fact: If you need classes or contacts for distance or reading, use them. Not wearing your corrective lenses will strain your eyes and tire them out.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, you should never sleep in contact lenses due to the risk of eye infections, including keratitis, which is a serious infection that can lead to corneal scarring.

Myth: Staring at a computer screen all day will wreck your eyes.

Fact: Using a computer does not damage your eyes. However, starting at a computer screen all day can contribute to eyestrain or tired eyes. People who use computers for long periods don’t blink as often as usual, which can cause eyes to feel dry and uncomfortable.

To prevent eyestrain, adjust lighting so it doesn’t create a glare or harsh reflection on the screen. Rest your eyes briefly every 20 minutes. And make a conscious effort to blink regularly.

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