Eye health: Sifting myth from facts


Classical spectacle on eye chartEyes are one of our most precious possessions, and keeping them in good health should be high on agenda for each one of us. But eye health is a subject on which there is no shortage of advice. We all have been advised, even instructed by numerous people all through our lives to follow or not to follow certain habits to prevent any damage to the eyes. ‘Don’t sit too close to the TV; don’t read while lying upside down; walk out every morning for good eye sight; playing video games can hamper eye health’. There are plenty of beliefs floating around us regarding healthy practices for the eyes. But, which one from among them are facts and which are just myths being propagated since ages?

Mr. Shivkumar J, CEO, Essilor India debunks some common eye health myths and highlights some crucial facts:


1) Sitting too close to TV or computer screens will affect eye sight:

This is a myth. The distance between a screen and the eyes has no bearing on deciding the eye sight of the person. It cannot make you near or long sighted. It will however hurt your eyes temporarily by straining them. However, prolonged use of computer or TV screens will anyway strain your eyes, no matter the distance. You just need to keep your eyes lubricated and give them some rest at the end of every day.

On the contrary, sitting too close to the TV or computer may be a sign of near sightedness. If your child has a habit of sticking her eyes to the screen, then get her examined, she may be having a problem in getting a clear view from afar.

2) Eating carrots will ensure good vision

This is another myth. Carrots are a source of vitamin A which is good for eyes, but only a small amount of it is needed. This does not mean that eating carrots daily will make one immune from any eye problems. This is also not an assurance against weakening of eyesight which is often hereditary. So, carrots are not a guarantee for health eyes; and even without eating carrots daily your eyes can remain perfectly healthy.

3) If you cross your eyes, the eyeballs will stick where they are:

This is a myth often propagated to scare away children from making unseemly faces by crossing eyes. The eyes will not stay this way, if you cross them. In fact, it is good to move the eyeballs in all directions occasionally.

4) UV radiation is harmful only in summer months:

This is another important myth that needs to be debunked. The sun may be the harshest in summer but UV radiation is as harmful for the eyes in winter as it is in summer. In fact UV radiation penetrate through the clouds also and t important to protect eyes from them. Exposure can cause cataracts and photokeratitis. It is advisable to wear protective glasses that block UV rays like Crizal Forte UV that are equipped with Eye Sun Protection Factor (ESPF). Wear such glasses all through the year.

5) I need to visit an eye doctor only if something seems wrong.

In India we live by this myth. There is no concept of preventive eye screening which can help check major eye problems in time. You should have a comprehensive eye exam every year, even if your eyes feel fine. Annual eye exams help identify the need for correction in time and are very important.