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5 Vision Myths Debunked

Some warnings about saving your eyesight have a lot of merit: wear sunglasses, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, don't smoke, and when you're working on a computer, give your eyes a rest every 20 minutes. Then there's the timeless command from parents to kids: "If you're not careful with those Nerf guns, someone's going to lose an eye!" (It happens—hence, the very real need for protective eyewear).

On the other hand, it's good to know there are some eye myths that, although they keep circulating, you can ignore. Such as. . .

If you cross your eyes, they'll stick that way.

Nope. Our eye muscles are meant to allow us to move our eyes in all directions. Looking left or right, up or down, won't force them to stay permanently in those positions, just as crossing the eyes won't force them to stay that way. Crossed eyes may result from disease, uncorrected vision, or from muscle or nerve damage.

Your vision will get worse if you read in dim light.

It may be harder to read in dim light, but it won't damage your eyes. For centuries people read and worked by candlelight or gas lamps—both situations that offered far less illumination than the electric lights we have today. However, having good light will prevent eye fatigue and make reading easier.

Sitting too close to the TV or reading a book too close will ruin your eyes.

Not true. Many children with excellent vision like to hold books very near to their eyes or sit close to the TV. Their youthful eyes focus very well up close, so it's natural and safe for them. Children and adults who are nearsighted might need to get close to a book or television set to see clearly.

Only boys are color blind.

Color blindness, also known as color deficiency, occurs when you are unable to see colors in a certain way. Most commonly, color blindness happens when a person can't distinguish between greens and reds, and occasionally blues. While males are much more likely to develop color blindness, it does also happen to females.

Wearing glasses makes your eyes dependent on them.

Eyeglasses correct blurry vision whether near or far. You may want to wear your glasses more often so that you can see clearly, but your glasses aren't changing your eyes so that they become dependent on your eyeglasses. You're just getting used to seeing things more clearly. Similarly, wearing glasses with the wrong prescription won't ruin your eyes. You just won't see as clearly as you would with the right prescription.