Get a clear view on five myths about eyesight

From blue-light protection to sitting too close to the screen, we debunk myths around eyesight ahead of World Sight Day.

Sit back from the TV screen, you’ll damage your eyes! Eat carrots, they’re good for your eyes! Put on your glasses, or you’ll make your eyesight worse! We’ve probably all heard at least one of these statements at some point in our lives. But are they really true?

Ahead of World Sight Day, Thursday, October 13, we asked Dr. Laurence Desjardins, an ophthalmologist and scientific director of the French Society of Ophthalmology (SFO), to help bust some of these common myths.

Not wearing your glasses can aggravate certain eyesight problems, such as nearsightedness: False

Not wearing your glasses causes some discomfort for patients, who inevitably see less well, but it does not make the refractive error worse. There is only one case where it can be troublesome, namely in children with accommodative esotropia [ a form of strabismus or misalignment of the eyes], who are far-sighted, and who need to wear glasses for their eyes to function normally.

RELATED: 5 ways to keep your eyes healthy

Otherwise, they have an accommodation reflex that causes them to squint, in convergent strabismus. For children, not wearing their glasses can indeed have consequences, but this mainly affects the youngest, before the age of five or six. In other cases, not wearing your glasses can cause visual fatigue or headaches at the end of the day, caused by the effects of effort, but the refraction disorder is not made worse.

Sitting too close to the screen damages your eyes: False

This does not damage eyesight. However, if a child who has not had their vision tested is looking at a screen very close-up, it may raise concerns that they are nearsighted.

'We didn't sign up for this': Unisa students at wits' end after assignment portal bombs
Photo for illustration: iStock

Eating carrots is good for your eyesight: True and False

It’s not just carrots, but all fruit and vegetables that contain antioxidants that are beneficial to the retina, including in preventing the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). All red berries, and highly-pigmented vegetables, are protective of the retina. However, it should be noted that these are obviously very long-term benefits.

Anti-blue light lenses do not combat eye fatigue: False

They contribute to the fight against fatigue. However, it is not necessarily the blue-light filter that combats eye fatigue, but the fact that the optical correction is optimal. When patients work on a screen, the ophthalmologist looks precisely at the refraction, and there is generally a small level of astigmatism or far-sightedness to correct… There is often a small optical correction to be made. And when people work on a screen, we tend to make sure their vision is as effortless as possible by correcting these small defects; this reduces eye fatigue.

Light-colored eyes are more sensitive to light: True

Light-colored eyes, especially blue and green, are more sensitive than brown eyes, for example, and are more likely to develop melanoma. It is all the more important to protect them from UV rays and light. Light irises filter UV rays less, so they are more sensitive than darker eyes.

READ NEXT: Birth control pill linked to greater risk of blood clots in women with obesity

Read more on these topics

Health healthcare

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits