Eye myths

The eye is a complicated organ and, perhaps because of this, there are many widely-repeated comments about eyes and vision that are not true.  The following list includes some of the most common myths compiled by the American Academy of Ophthalmology:

Reading in dim light will injure your eyes.
False.  Reading in dim light may cause eye strain, but not permanent damage.


Cataracts have to “ripen” before they are removed.
False.  Cataracts are usually part of the natural aging process.  When the clear lens of the eye becomes cloudy, this is called a cataract.  Cataracts usually progress slowly and should be removed when they impede your everyday activities.


Wearing the wrong glasses will hurt your eyes.
False. Wearing the wrong glasses may cause eye fatigue and you will not see as well as you should, but it will not cause any permanent harm.


Children will outgrow crossed-eyes.
False. If a child has a crossed or lazy eye, his brain will usually suppress the image in the misaligned eye.  If not treated early in life, life-long poor vision may result.  Treatment options include patching, vision therapy, glasses or surgery.


Sitting too close to the television will harm your eyes
False. Sitting too close to the television will not cause any permanent damage. 


Cataract surgery is done with a laser.
False. The majority of cataract surgery is not performed using lasers.  Most references to lasers and cataract surgery are related to a laser procedure performed months or years after cataract surgery.  Sometimes a patient will have decreased vision after surgery from a “cloudy capsule,” called capsular opacification, and a laser is used to open up the capsule so a patient can see clearly. 


You don’t need to have an eye exam unless you have an eye problem.
False. Everyone should have regular eye exams.  Some eye problems such as glaucoma, usually have no symptoms in the early stages of the disease, and if left untreated, can cause permanent vision loss.


Eyes can be transplanted.
False.  An entire eye cannot be transplanted from one person to another because a severed optic nerve cannot be reconnected.  The cornea, which is the clear dome on the front of the eye, can be transplanted.