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Can Reading In Low Light Harm Your Eyes? Top 10 Eye Health Myths Debunked

Reading low light
 As with most complicated subjects, myths about vision and eye health abound.

John A. Moran Eye Center optometrist Gabriel Hulewsky, OD, has heard them all, and he's here to debunk 10 of the most common misunderstandings.

Myth: Reading in dim light is harmful to your eyes.

While more light can be helpful, reading in dim light will not hurt your eyes.

Myth: It's OK to look directly at the sun if you squint or look through narrowed eyelids.

You should never stare at the sun, even when squinting. The sun produces ultraviolet rays that can damage your cornea, lens, and retina. Even the best sunglasses can't block UV rays completely. And never, ever look directly at a solar eclipse, as that can cause blindness.

Myth: Using a computer, or video display terminal (VDT), can harm your eyes.

Eye strain can be associated with using a computer or other electronic devices, but they are not harmful to the eyes. Check out these tips for avoiding strain.

Myth: If you use your eyes too much, you'll wear them out.

You will not wear your eyes out by using them too much. Feel free to use them as much as you want.

Myth: If you continually cross your eyes, they will stick that way.

You can cross your eyes all you want. They will not stick that way.

Myth: It's OK to wear poorly-fitting contacts lenses.

Contacts need to be fitted correctly as a poor fit can damage the front part of the eye. Regular exams will ensure a good and safe fit.

Myth: Wearing eyeglasses makes your eyes dependent on them.

Eyeglasses correct blurry vision at all distances. You may want to wear 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 correct prescription.

Myth: Safety goggles are more trouble than they're worth.

Safety goggles are always worth the trouble. They prevent many potentially blinding injuries.

Myth: It's OK to swim while wearing soft contact lenses.

Taking out your contact lenses while swimming or hot-tubbing is the best practice to avoid any serious eye infections.

Myth: A cataract must be advanced before it can be removed.

Consider having cataracts removed if they begin to affect any activities of daily living.