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Your Eyes: Separating Fact from Fiction

Your eyes are an invaluable resource. As you get older, your eyes will change and you’ll have to make certain adjustments, such as wearing glasses. In addition, protecting your eyesight will take more effort.

You may have heard various warnings about taking care of your eyes, or about eye care procedures. This handout will examine common misconceptions (and truths), and provide some tips on how to care for your eyes—from childhood to old age.

Can crossed eyes can be treated?

Strabismus (crossed eyes) does not improve on its own, but it can be more easily corrected in younger children. That’s why it is important for your child to have an eye exam early, first when he or she is an infant, and then again by age two.

Will using a nightlight in my child’s room contribute to nearsightedness?

It has been thought that using a nightlight in your child’s bedroom may contribute to nearsightedness; however, there is not enough evidence to support this claim. Keeping a nightlight on in your baby’s room may actually help him or her learn to focus and develop important eye coordination skills when he or she is awake.

Will eating carrots will help me maintain healthy vision?

Eating carrots will provide you with the small amount of vitamin A needed for good vision. Vitamin A isn’t limited to carrots, however. As vitamin A can also be found in milk, cheese, egg yolk, and liver, vitamin A deficiency is very rare in this country.

Will sitting too close to the TV or a computer monitor hurt my eyes?

Sitting closer than necessary to the television or a computer monitor may give you a headache, but it will not damage your vision.

Will reading in the dark will weaken my eyesight?

As with sitting too close to the television, you may get a headache from reading in the dark, but it will not weaken your sight.

Will looking straight at the sun damage my sight?

Looking at the sun may not only cause headache and distort your vision temporarily, but it can also cause permanent eye damage. Any exposure to sunlight adds to the cumulative effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation on your eyes. UV exposure has been linked to eye disorders such as macular degeneration, solar retinitis, and corneal dystrophies.

Will using glasses or contacts weaken my eyesight?

Your eyes will not grow weaker as a result of using corrective lenses. Your prescription may change over time due to aging or the presence of disease, but it is not because of your current prescription.

Will wearing contact lenses keep nearsightedness from progressing?

Properly fitting contact lenses help to refocus the light that we see but they do not change the long-term progression in prescriptions.

Is there anything I can do to prevent vision loss?

At the very first signs of vision loss, such as blurred vision or flashes of light, you should see your doctor. If detected early enough, depending on the cause, there are treatments that can correct, stop, or slow down most causes of vision loss. Even without symptoms, preventable vision loss can occur. Routine eye examinations are important to determine if any of these problems exist or if any treatment is necessary. There are also lifestyle issues that can affect vision. Smoking and nutritional deficiencies put people at risk for vision loss.

Can cataracts be removed with lasers?

There is no laser currently in use that removes cataracts. The most common method of removing cataracts in this country employs the use of ultrasound.

Can cataracts be removed before they are fully developed?

Modern technology allows us to remove a cataract at any stage in its development. The appropriate time for cataract surgery is usually when the cataract has caused enough of a decline in vision that activities of daily living are compromised.

Can eyes be transplanted?

Parts of an eye, such as the cornea, can be transplanted. It is currently impossible to transplant an entire eye to restore vision.

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 1/17/2007...#8562