From not needing to wear sunglasses in winter, to believing that eye issues only impact older people, misinformation could be impacting your overall eye health and causing you to make decisions that threaten good vision for life.
To help Australians make better informed decisions when it comes to their eye health, Optometry Australia is here to debunk common myths and misconceptions.
Carrots help you see better
According to the Optometry Australia 2020 Vision Index, almost one in three Australian adults, 31 per cent to be precise, believe the age-old saying that eating carrots is good for the eyes. Whilst carrots are packed with good vitamins and beta carotene, there is a range of nutritious, colourful fruits and vegetables we must eat to improve eye health, not just the trusty carrot!
A new study has also revealed that measures taken to foster heart health – such as eating well, exercising regularly, not smoking and controlling your cholesterol and blood pressure – are also linked to a lower risk of eye disease.
There's nothing you can do to prevent vision loss
Almost all (90%) vision loss and blindness is preventable if detected early, which is why it is increasingly important to undergo regular eye examinations and have your eyes tested by an optometrist.
Contact lenses are not safe to wear
Contact lenses remain a safe, popular and highly effective form of vision correction for millions of people worldwide. There is no need to fear wearing contact lenses, however it is important to ensure you follow appropriate storage habits and maintain proper hygiene when putting contact lenses in your eyes by thoroughly washing your hands each time you put them in and take them out.
You don’t have to wear sunglasses during winter
It is extremely important to ensure that you are wearing sunglasses year-round, even during winter. The sun is lower on the horizon in autumn, winter and spring so we actually get more damaging UV directly entering the eye.
A whopping 90 per cent of the sun’s UV rays can filter through thick clouds during winter. So, even though we may not be able to see the sun on dreary days, it’s there and so too are its damaging UV rays. So be sure to slide on your sunglasses every time you go outdoors.
Kids don’t need to have their eyes tested
According to the 2020 Vision Index, 79 per cent of Australian parents believe their children have perfect eyesight, however one in five children suffers from an undetected vision problem.
If children’s eyes are left untested, it can make their development and learning increasingly difficult. Optometry Australia recommends children have a full eye examination with an optometrist before starting school and then regular visits (every two or three years) as they progress through primary and secondary school.
If you cross your eyes, they’ll stay that way
One of the oldest tricks in the book to scare kids is the saying “if you cross your eyes they’ll stay that way”. Our eye muscles aid in ensuring your eyes can move in all directions. No matter if you cross your eyes, looking in any direction doesn't force your eyes to remain in those positions. Being able to make your eyes go crossed is something many people are able to do at will, and this is normal.
Crossed eyes when the eyes are not trying to do so, or are in a relaxed state may result from disease, uncorrected vision, or from muscle or nerve damage.
The best way to avoid being duped by myths is to visit your optometrist for regular eye examinations and educate yourself on eye health. Good Vision for Life has a range of resources and tools to help Australians be better informed about their eye health. You can sign up to our monthly eDM to receive eye health information directly to your inbox.
If you have not undergone a regular eye examination this year, it’s important to book an appointment today. You can use our Find an Optometrist search function to find your local optometrist.