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#1 Reading in dim light hurts your eyes

The only thing poor lighting will do is make you tired. Reading in dim light won’t damage your eyesight, but it does get harder to do as you get older.

#2 Too much computer or phone screen time can damage your eyes

Not true. While too much blue light emanating from your screens may interrupt your sleep cycle, your eyes themselves won’t sustain any damage. But watch out for Computer Vision Syndrome which is caused by prolonged screen time. The condition can cause dry eyes, neck pain, back pain and headaches. Enact time limits for video games and computer screens if you notice you or your child complaining of these symptoms.

#3 Children receive adequate eye care at school

Children who don’t see well don’t learn well. If your child’s school offers vision screenings at all, a screening conducted by untrained school personnel won’t be as reliable as a comprehensive eye and vision examination by trained professionals. A child who can read an eye chart from 20 feet away will pass the school nurse’s “distance test,” meaning conditions like astigmatism and physical eye abnormalities will fall under the radar.

#4 If my child needs glasses, “they’ll” tell me

Regular optometry appointments are just as important as pediatric visits for young children. In truth, many children don’t realize they have vision problems until deep into elementary or middle school. According to physicians, the first eye check-up should be at six months and annual vision screenings should start at 3 or 4 years old.

Early signs of physical eye movement issues like amblyopia (lazy eye) or strabismus (eye misalignment/cross eyed) can be caught and treated promptly with patches, special eyewear, vision training or surgery. If not, a lifetime of poor vision could follow.

#5 Vision will inevitably get worse as you age

This is only half-true. Everyone knows a pair of reading glasses is in their future. However, more serious age-related eye conditions (listed below) are largely preventable and most are responsive to exercise, lowered sugar intake and other healthy diet changes:

Glaucoma – Increasing vision loss from intra-eye pressure on the optic nerve

Retinopathy – Retina degradation and vision damage due to sugar intake by diabetic patients

Macular degeneration – The leading cause of blindness in Americans over 65

Along with presbyopia, or age-related far-sightedness, normal symptoms of eye aging include:

Dry eyes

Smaller pupil size – Eyes more vulnerable to light damage and less able to read or carry out activities in low light

Cataracts – Cause blurry vision most commonly from protein buildup in the lenses

#6 An elderly person’s eyesight can spontaneously improve

After using reading glasses for some time, older people may find that they can read without them. The truth is that they are becoming more nearsighted which can be a sign of early cataract development, a condition requiring surgery to correct.

#7 Eating carrots will improve vision

Parents will tell their kids anything to bring about a desired result. The presentation of carrots on a dinner plate is often prefaced by the adage, “Eat all your carrots and you will always have good eyesight!” Is there any truth to this statement, or is it a bunch of baloney? Since the Middle Ages, carrots have been heralded as miracle vegetables and were thought to cure anything from snakebites to STDs. Carrots do provide many benefits for healthy vision but eating them every day will not restore vision to 20/20. Because they’re rich in vitamin A and lutein, they are always a good choice for a nutrient-packed snack. So, keep packing those carrot sticks in the school lunches, mom. But don’t expect X-ray vision from little Tommy. He will still need to wear his glasses every day.

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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