Eye care and eye health is often a blurry subject because there are so many myths and misunderstandings regarding vision. Proper eye health isn’t a commonly talked about subject. If you’re concerned about your body’s overall health and wellness, don’t skip vision care! There are preventative measures you can take to maintain eye health if you want to have sharp vision or prevent further vision decline.
Myth #1 - Eat carrots for good vision.
We’ve all heard it since childhood. “Eat carrots. They’re good for your eyes!” Yes, carrots are in fact good for your eyes, but it’s not carrots specifically that are good for eye health. The vitamin A in carrots is what is known to be supportive of eye health.
You should definitely consume carrots regularly as they are a fantastic health food, but there are so many more foods that you can include in your diet that are excellent for eye health because they also contain high levels of vitamin A. Some of these foods include:
- Collard greens
- Liver from organic meats
- Organic eggs
- Red bell peppers
- Sweet potatoes
As you can see, there are many different foods, both plant based and animal derived, that you can incorporate into your daily diet in order to ensure adequate vitamin A consumption to support vision and eye health. Include a variety of these foods for the best results!
Myth #2 - If your parents have poor vision, so will you.
Genetics can certainly play a role in your eye health. Some people are born with poor vision. Nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism can all be inherited. I have personally needed glasses for as long as I can remember. My siblings and I all wear glasses and contact lenses as poor vision runs in my mom’s side of the family.
Glaucoma and macular degeneration are age related; however, they appear to be genetically passed down in a large portion of the cases. While there isn’t much you can do about genetics, you can still support your eye health as much as possible through a healthy diet and regular vision tests. You can find my full list of tips below.
Myth #3 - You don’t need regular eye exams if you don’t have obvious vision problems.
Many people neglect getting their eyes and vision checked if they don’t have any obvious vision problems. However, vision exams are one of the best measures that you can take to maintain eye health. If you have even a slight vision problem, wearing glasses or contact lenses will help to prevent eye strain and further vision decline.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology suggests visiting an ophthalmologist for a vision test every 2 years. If you are 65 and older, you should schedule an eye exam every year. Even if you don’t think you have vision problems, you may need glasses for reading or driving. Note that people tend to develop eye conditions such as glaucoma after the age of 40. It’s important not to neglect these tests so that you can prevent or at least be aware of any eye problems that may just be starting.
Myth #4 - Electronic screens will damage your vision.
Staring at screens has not yet been proven to damage vision. However, regularly looking at a screen for long periods of time can cause eye fatigue. You can start to lose focus, which can lead to brow pain and headaches.
To reduce this strain, take breaks from looking at screens and look at objects far away to give your nearsighted vision a rest. Use the 20-20-20 rule when using electronics.
Every 20 minutes, stare at something that is 20 feet away for a full 20 seconds!
TV’s, computers, and tablet screens should be at least 18 inches away from your eyes, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Myth #5 - Squinting will damage your vision.
Squinting won’t necessarily damage your eyes; however, notice if you do squint. Squinting is a sign that you may have vision problems and you may need distance glasses. If you squint occasionally or regularly, I highly suggest booking an appointment for an eye exam.
Myth #6 - There is nothing you can do to prevent vision loss.
Vision loss definitely seems like an inevitable outcome for most of us, especially as we age. While sometimes it is out of your control, it’s never too late to take care of your eye health and try to prevent vision decline. If you can protect your eyes from an early age, even better!
There are certain things you can do to protect your vision. My top suggestions are to:
- Eat a healthy diet that is packed with nutrients including vitamin A.
- Eat a diet containing other nutrients supporting eye health including antioxidants, omega 3s, vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc.
- Eat a diet that is blood sugar regulating. Imbalanced blood sugar levels can negatively affect vision and eye health.
- Avoid smoking. Smoking increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy.
- Know your family’s eye health history. Take preventative measures to try and prevent certain genetic diseases that run in your family.
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes when you’re outside exposed to the sun.
- If you wear contact lenses, take proper care of them and clean them regularly.
I hope some of the most common eye health and vision myths are busted and that you can see more clearly how you can take care of the health of your eyes. With prevention and proper care, we can all do our best to prevent vision loss!