- Oct 2, 2015 - 6 Common Eye Myths Debunked
6 Common Eye Myths Debunked
Over the centuries there have been a lot of old-wives tales circulating about eyes and vision. You know, like the one that if someone hits you on the back while your eyes are crossed they will stay that way. Unlike this example, some of these myths do have roots in truth, yet filtering out those truths isn’t an easy task.
Here are a few of the most common myths and truths about the eyes and vision.
Myth: Eating a lot of carrots will help you see in the dark.
Truth: Carrots have a lot of Vitamin A, a vitamin that is essential for good eyesight, but eating a lot of carrots isn’t going to give you 20/20 vision or help you see in the dark. Likely, the basis of this over-exaggeration is that night-blindness and vision loss found in underdeveloped countries can be a sign of malnutrition due to Vitamin A deficiency. However, you only need a relatively small amount of Vitamin A for vision, and it is easily obtainable in a normal balanced diet from a lot of sources, not limited to carrots.
Higher-than-normal doses of Vitamin A might be useful in treating certain eye conditions and as part of a combination of vitamins used to slow the progression of early-stage macular degeneration. However, in any of these cases, do not take Vitamin A supplements without instructions from your eye doctor.
Myth: Wearing glasses makes your vision worse.
Truth: People think this is true because often once we start wearing glasses our vision continues to deteriorate and we have to keep going back for a higher prescription. The notion that wearing glasses causes your vision to get worse is simply not true. Distance vision or myopia typically gets worse over time, especially during childhood and adolescence, and does depend on whether the child wears glasses. Additionally, most people begin to experience vision deterioration as they enter their 40’s and 50’s with or without the use of vision correction devices.
Myth: Sitting too close to the TV is bad for your eyes.
Truth: While it may cause your eyes to feel tired, there is no evidence that sitting too close to the TV will harm your eyes or vision. Children in fact have a heightened ability to focus on close objects so often it is natural and relatively comfortable for them to sit close to a screen.
Myth: Reading in dim light can damage your eyes.
Truth: This one also has no good evidence. While yes, your eyes are working harder and may feel tired when reading in dim light, there is no evidence of permanent or long-term damage to your eyes.
Myth: As you get older there is nothing you can do to prevent vision loss.
Truth: While most older adults will eventually develop some degree of presbyopia which is near-vision loss, and eventually cataracts, no sign of vision loss should be ignored. Vision problems like these can be treated, allowing you to see clearly again. Moreover, there are many serious eye diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration that can threaten your vision and eyes with permanent and severe vision loss if not diagnosed and treated early. If you are 40 or older, you should have your eyes checked with a comprehensive eye exam on a yearly basis. In many cases, early treatment can save your eyesight.
Myth: Squinting causes vision loss.
Truth: Squinting is a natural reaction of your eyes to let less light into the pupil in order to sharpen your focus. Rather than impairing your vision, squinting is usually a sign that someone can’t see clearly which often suggests that their vision is impaired and that they need glasses to see better in the first place.
Got any other eye myths that you are curious about? Just ask at your next visit to our office. We are happy to help weed out the fact from the fiction. More »
- Mar 27, 2015 - Refocus on the Digital Age with Computer Glasses
Refocus on the Digital Age with Computer Glasses
Digital devices have impacted our world in so many positive ways, allowing us to connect, work, play and get information at the speed of light. But all of this good brings with it a measure of concern: Digital Eye Strain or Computer Vision Syndrome.
Focusing on your vision on digital devices for long periods can cause eye fatigue and eyestrain. In fact, up to 70% of North American adults suffer from symptoms of Digital Eye Strain which include:
Blurred or double vision
Dry or watery eyes
Sensitivity to light
Neck, shoulder or back pain
In addition to these symptoms, emerging research shows that blue light from digital devices causes sleep disturbances by interfering with the REM cycle of sleep.
As people move from their computer to their tablet to their phone, more and more of these symptoms are being seen, and in younger and younger people.
How They Work
Computer glasses reduce eye strain by adjusting the focus slightly so your eyes feel like they are focusing on something further away. They also have a tint to remove the glare and block blue light from entering into your eyes.
Finding the Right Pair
There are a number of companies that make computer glasses, some that are designed for device users without a prescription or that would wear the glasses with contact lenses. Other manufacturers provide options to incorporate vision prescriptions into the lens.
When shopping for computer glasses you want to make sure you find the right pair. The eyewear should sit nicely on your face and provide a comfortable tint.
Children and Computer Glasses
Children are using digital devices more than ever and this trend will only continue as smartphones take over and tablet and computer-based learning increases. Their use extends well beyond the school day as well, as they use computers for homework and gaming and smartphones to text with their friends.
Computer glasses should be used for kids preventatively before eye strain begins to keep their eyes healthy longer and prevent nearsightedness.
Don’t wait for eye strain to affect you and your family members. Take computer vision syndrome seriously and ask your eye doctor about how computer glasses can help. More »
- Feb 14, 2015 - Living With Low Vision - Dr. Alpert is a Low Vision Specialist
Living With Low Vision
February is Low Vision and Age-Related Macular Degeneration awareness month.
Dr. Alpert is a Low Vision Specialist. Feel free to call the office with any questions.
Low vision describes a set of conditions in which there is significant visual impairment which can not be corrected with traditional means such as glasses, contact lenses, medication or eye surgery. Low vision includes a loss of visual acuity which can’t be corrected to better than 20/70, significant visual field loss such as tunnel vision or blind spots, legal blindness (20/200 or less visual acuity in the better eye) and almost total blindness.
While it can affect both children and adults, low vision is most common in the elderly. Since vision is significantly impaired and can’t be corrected the condition requires significant adjustments to daily life. Here are some facts about the condition and tips for coping with it on a daily basis.
What causes low vision?
Eye diseases such as: glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and retinitis pigmentosa
How does low vision affect daily life?
While people with low vision are not considered to be totally blind, often the poor quality of their vision makes it incredibly challenging to complete common daily tasks including reading, writing, cooking and housework, watching television, driving or even recognizing people. The adjustment can be especially for those who suddenly lose their vision.
The good news is there are numerous resources and products available to assist individuals with low vision often by enhancing the small amount of vision that is intact.
Visual aids enable millions of people who suffer from low vision to be able to function and live relatively normal lives, by maximizing their remaining eyesight. An optometrist can do a low vision eye exam and provide specialized glasses or tints to optimize vision, or recommend quality magnifiers with appropriate magnification and working distance. Full spectrum lighting or magnifiers with an attached light source are often used to aid individuals with low vision. You can also get special lens tints, which are used to enhance contrast and reduce glare, with special coatings for specific conditions. Other low vision aids act as guides to help the person focus on non-visual cues, such as sound or feel.
Many people unfortunately try a “trial and error” or "dollar store" readers or magnifiers when it comes to vision aids which can lead to frustration. In fact, there is a systematic approach to finding the right visual aid, which is a matter of consulting with a professional such as Dr. Alpert to determine what works for each individual and his daily needs. TotalVision Eyecare Center of Manchester is one of the the best places to obtain quality, optical and non-optical aids to assist with your low vision.
If you or a loved one suffers from low vision, here are some ways to make life with low vision easier
Adjust Lighting. Ensure that your home is well lit. This may require some trial and error with different lights and voltages to determine what works best for you.
Use a magnifier. There is a vast selection of magnifiers available, ranging from hand-held to stand magnifiers. Binoculars and spectacle mounted magnifiers are also an option.
Your optometrist or low vision specialist can recommend specialized lens tints for certain conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa or cataracts, which enhance vision or reduce light sensitivity.
Use large print books for reading. Alternatively, try digital recordings or mp3s.
Make use of high contrast for writing. Try writing in large letters with a broad black pen on a white piece of paper or board.
Add a high-contrast stripe on steps (bright color on dark staircase, or black stripe on light stairs) can prevent falls in people with low vision, and may enable those who suffer to remain independent in their home.
Find out what other technology is available to help make your life simpler.
If you or a loved one has low vision, don’t despair. Be sure to consult with Dr. Alpert about the best course of action to take to simplify life with low vision. More »