From telling us that carrots make us see in the dark (which is kind of true by the way) to telling us not to sit too close to the TV, our parents have been telling us all sorts of strange things about how best to look after our eyesight. But which of these things contain fact and which are just absolute rubbish?
Here are 5 of the most common eye health and eyesight myths, debunked!
1. “Not wearing glasses will damage your eyes”
Not exactly true. Whilst we can’t argue that not wearing glasses for some people may be uncomfortable, there is no scientific evidence to support that failing to wear your glasses will cause further damage to your eyesight.
In response to this common myth, Volunteer eye health organisation, Prevent Blindness says:
“This statement does have some truth for a small number of people. Some children have eye problems that can be corrected, and it is important that they wear their glasses. While corrective glasses or contacts are needed to improve eyesight, using your eyes with or without glasses will not damage them further.”
2. “Reading in dim lighting will damage eyes”
Another old wives’ favourite. Mums love to tell us off when we’re reading without sufficient lighting. But whilst reading in dim conditions can cause serious eye fatigue (and no-one wants that), there’s still no real evidence to support the idea that if causes any long term damage.
3. “Sitting too close to the TV is bad for you”
If you ever complained of a headache as a child and your mum told you that it served you right for sitting so close to the TV, then you probably grew up in the 70s, 80s or 90s! An urban myth that plagued parents of that era!
Ever since televisions became popular, parents have been telling us not to sit to close. But there’s no data to show less/more damage based on distance. However, reports do suggest that the increased use of computer screens at work and at home can be a catalyst for the recent deterioration in eye complaints. So be careful not to rely on digital technology too much.
4. “Only boys can be colour blind”
Colour blindness is experienced by around 8% of the male population, whilst it affect less than 1% of girls. So whilst it’s very, very rare in females, it’s not impossible. For the vast majority, colour vision deficiency is hereditary whilst others can develop the condition in later life as a result of diseases such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis.
5. “Don’t cross your eyes, they’ll stay like that”
I think this one is an obvious myth for everyone. In the desperate bid to stop us from pulling faces at our siblings, family members and friends, our parents told us the fib that our eyes would stay crossed if we kept doing it. In the same way that our frowns would be forever fixed when the wind changed.