Top 10 Most Common Myths About Eye Exams and Eye Care Debunked
Myths about eye exams and eye care are everywhere. As vision care professionals, we’ve heard it all, from the classic childhood rejoinder of “Don’t cross your eyes, they’ll stay that way!” to the assumption that eye exams aren’t necessary until you hit middle age.
We’ve put together a top 10 list with some of the most common misconceptions, misinformation, and mistakes about eye health and vision care. Read our list to avoid falling for these tall tales.
Myth #1: Eye exams take a long time to perform.
The myth: An eye exam is going to take up half the day between hanging out in the waiting room and the time for the exam itself. It’s a huge hassle.
The truth: We understand that life can be hectic and it can be hard to make time for any appointment. But usually, an eye exam will only take up 30 minutes or, at most, an hour of your time.
At Poudre Valley Eyecare, we’re careful to make appointments on a realistic schedule so that our patients aren’t stuck waiting for long periods of time. During the exam itself, you’ll have the eye doctor’s full attention, and the entire process is fairly quick.
Myth #2: I only need an eye exam if I have vision problems or blurry vision.
The myth: Eye exams are just for people who have poor vision or who have a problem with their eyesight. If I can see clearly, I’m fine to skip them.
The truth: Vision correction is an important part of what eye doctors do — but it’s certainly not the only part! Eye exams are important for everyone, no matter how eagle-eyed.
Regular eye exams can help with early detection of conditions such as glaucoma, diabetes, and cataracts. All of these conditions benefit from early treatment.
Additionally, many people don’t notice right away if their eyesight becomes less clear. For example, one eye might be overcompensating for weakness in the other, which can actually cause other vision problems down the road. In some cases, a mild prescription can help the eyes continue to work together effectively and help head off bigger vision problems down the road.
Myth #3: I’m way too young for an eye exam.
The myth: Eye exams are only important when you get older. I’m young enough that I don’t need them.
The truth: Unless you’re a newborn, you’re not too young for an eye exam. Most people should get their first eye exam at six months old.
Eye exams should continue regularly from there. Young children and school kids benefit dramatically from early intervention on vision correction and eye problems . . . and undiagnosed vision loss can create tons of unnecessary frustration at school and home.
But it’s not just kids who need eye exams, either. Your vision is changing throughout your life.
Myth #4: Eye exams are too expensive; it’s not worth it.
The myth: Eye exams are costly. If finances are tight, they’re an easy appointment to put on the back burner.
The truth: Eye exam costs can vary, and you have options for reducing cost.
Of course, “affordable” is a relative term, and we understand that everyone’s financial situations vary. Your eye doctor should always be upfront about the costs involved and whether insurance applies. Additionally, Medicaid does cover certain eye care costs.
Rather than putting off eye exams, it’s better to ask about cost directly. This can help you stay on top of vision issues that may become a bigger deal if not addressed.
Myth #5: Eye exams are painful.
The myth: A trip to the eye doctor means discomfort and pain.
The truth: These self-tests are not any substitute for a comprehensive eye exam done by an eye doctor. A licensed optometrist isn’t just looking for blurry vision or color blindness; they’re examining your eyes for signs of certain conditions, checking how well your eyes work together, and helping you find the best solutions to any problems.
There’s a lot of things that YouTube can help you DIY, but vision care isn’t one of them.
Myth #6: I can test my own vision at home.
The myth: Self-vision tests from YouTube or other online sources are a good substitute for seeing an eye doctor.
The truth: Eye exams are comfortable and non-invasive. Nothing should be painful at all.
If you have any concerns, please let your eye doctor know. They would be happy to set your mind at ease about any part of the appointment.
Myth #7: Reading in dim light can hurt your eyes.
The myth: Reading in dim light will hurt your vision.
The truth: It might strain your eyes, but it won’t damage your vision. Before electricity, people read by candlelight after dark; this kind of lighting wasn’t always comfortable for reading, but it doesn’t cause vision to deteriorate.
Myth #8: Prescription glasses make your eyes weaker over time.
The myth: Glasses are doing all the work for your eyes and can cause your vision to get worse. It’s best to put off getting glasses as long as possible.
The truth: The exact opposite is true! Vision correction is designed to improve and strengthen your eyesight over time. Delaying getting prescription glasses or contacts may make the problem worse.
This is because your eyes and your brain must work together to calibrate your vision. When your vision isn’t working well, everything adjusts to try and make up for the difference. Your brain might begin over-relying on the eye with better vision, causing your eyes to stop working together as effectively.
Myth #9: Being too close to a screen can damage your eyes.
The myth: You shouldn’t sit too close to a television, computer monitor, or other screen because it can damage your vision.
The truth: There’s no evidence that this habit can cause vision damage. If you notice your kids habitually doing this, it might be good to get their vision screened, however; it can be a sign of nearsightedness in kids.
In general, though, adults are able to focus from further back. If your kids are sitting a bit closer than you would, that’s natural.
Myth #10: If you cross your eyes, they’ll get stuck that way.
The myth: It’s dangerous to cross your eyes because they might end up getting stuck.
The truth: Your eye muscles are made to move your eyes up, down, and over. You won’t cause them to stick by crossing them! (You might get a headache, though.)
Eyes that are crossing without you meaning to can be a sign that there’s an eye disease, an uncorrected error, or damage to muscles or nerves. So if you notice your eyes (or your child’s eyes) are crossing on their own, please let us know so we can check out the problem.
Conclusion: See an eye doctor for clarity about vision health.
These common misconceptions can lead to delayed vision care or unnecessary stress. Our professional optometrists are always happy to answer any questions you have about eye health — it’s what we’re most passionate about!
Dr. Eric Torgerson
Owner at Poudre Valley Eyevare
Dr. Eric Torgerson is the owner of Poudre Valley Eyecare, and has been recognized for his contributions to optometry and his commitment to community health through various roles and accolades within the Northern Colorado Optometric Society and the Colorado Optometric Association.
Why Choose Us?
Our advanced technology and individualized care deliver results for patients of all ages. Our routine exams allow us to spot changes in your vision and allow us to treat those changes early. We have a comprehensive understanding of eye care, which means we can treat a wide range of conditions and chronic diseases. Our in-depth routine exams and customized treatment plans set us apart from the rest.