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Eye doctors Dr. Rani Banik and Dr. Jennifer Tsai debunk 13 myths about vision.


By ABUBAKARR SIDDY JJALLOHPublished 4 months ago 16 min read
Eye doctors Dr. Rani Banik and Dr. Jennifer Tsai debunk 13 myths about vision.
Photo by Ion Fet on Unsplash

eye exercises will improve your vision can i just do this please yes contact lenses can get lost behind your eye uh no if you sneeze with your eyes open they'll pop out i i don't know where to start with this um myth hi my name is dr ronnie banik i'm a board certified ophthalmologist and neuro-ophthalmologist and i'm dr jennifer sci practicing optometrist in new york city i specialize in medical and aesthetic eye care and today we will be debunking myths about vision 2020 means you have perfect vision ah that's a good one a lot of people think 2020 means perfect vision but there is so much to vision beyond just reading the eye chart and reading down to 2020. and when we say 2020 vision it means that this chart is at 20 feet away from the patient and they can read all the way down to this line right here there are other lines below that some people can actually read even better than 2020 but there are so many other components of vision for example there's color vision there's peripheral vision there's contrast and we also check for near point vision which has to do with reading up close and technically you could have 20 20 vision but have a condition such as glaucoma which can cause peripheral vision loss which means you have perfect 20 20 vision in the center but you might have side vision loss blue light will damage my eyes oh my gosh i don't know what to think about that back in 2018 there was a study that came out that the media picked up on and they said oh blue light is going to damage your retina it's going to cause permanent blindness what the researchers did in the study was they took cells they put them in a petri dish and they exposed those cells to high high levels of blue light and they found out that those cells died the truth is that the cells that they put in that petri dish were not even eye cells they were cervical cancer cells so our retina cells have pigments that protect us against blue light they're called lutein and zeaxanthin they're like our natural blue blockers and they protect our eyes against blue light so there is no proof that blue light damages your eyes and if it were really true we would actually have a pandemic of blindness because all of us are on devices all the time children adults and it's just not true we do know that it affects our sleep and it does cause insomnia because it changes our circadian rhythm so when you wear like coating on your glasses it does help with light sensitivity and glare and just generally making you feel more comfortable when you're doing work so there is no downside to it the tint does make a difference because if you put on the lighter tint blue blockers and if you look at your screen if you can still see the color blue it means that that blue blocker is not blocking out 100 of the blue light maybe it's blocking out a certain lower percentage maybe 30 to 40 percent versus if you put on these these are the super duper blue blockers if you look at a screen with these on you don't see any blue whatsoever so for example if i'm having trouble sleeping and i need to use my computer at night i'll wear these at night time two hours before bed so it doesn't really interfere with my sleep the other thing that can happen when you're on a screen for a long time is probably you're not blinking enough so you're probably also getting dry eye and that's probably also contributing to the eye strain you will lose your vision as you age i hear this all the time for my patients i have patients who are older your 60s 70s 80s even 90 year old patients who still have 20 20 vision sometimes the dinner menu gets harder to read at the restaurant and i tell them that's absolutely normal that's not losing your vision it's just that our vision starts to change in the other direction sometimes so when we're referring to presbyopia that is the gradual change when our eyes are not able to accommodate or focus on near objects as well and we tend to hold things further back so why does this happen well it's because inside the eye we have a lens now normally the lens is very flexible and it can change shape sometimes it can get thicker or thinner in the middle that allows us to focus at different distances as we get older though this lens just doesn't change shape as well it becomes more stiff and when it becomes more stiff that is called loss of accommodation or presbyopia and again that usually happens to most people sometime in their 40s or 50s we also notice that over time our eyes start to improve as we get older it has to do with the fact that as we grow our eyes elongate and that can lead to myopia or near-sightedness and over time just like our body can shrink our eyes can shrink shorter and that can lead our prescription to go the opposite way there's lots that can go wrong but as long as you see your eye doctor regularly you get checked for it you get it taken care of you can still maintain good 20 20 vision into your golden years lasik means no glasses forever i wish that were true but there is no guarantee with any kind of procedure that your vision will be what you hope it to be lasik is just resetting your prescription back to zero so lasik can provide sharp clear vision but that doesn't mean it can prevent myopia regression or the need for reading glasses sometimes there can be regression which means that after six months or a year the cornea may start to change back into its natural shape for the most part it is very very safe but just make sure you talk to your surgeon about it first to make sure that you're a good candidate because not everyone is a good candidate okay color blindness equals seeing in black and white this is an interesting one a lot of people think that if you have color blindness that's all you're going to see is like monochrome but it's not true most people who have color blindness or what we call color deficiency have issues with seeing different shades of reds and greens and sometimes also oranges and yellows it's not that they can't see those colors they just see those colors differently so we have cells in our retinas called photoreceptors the rods are responsible for light and dark vision the cones are responsible for color visions we have red cones green cones and blue cones and these cones are all tuned into certain wavelengths so in people who are color blind it's not that they don't have those cones it's just that those cones are set to a different wavelength so instead of seeing a red is bright red they may see it kind of as a muted color or maybe as like an orange or yellow actually it's pretty common in the population to have color blindness i think it's like eight percent of the population if you go to the eye doctor they can do a color test on you it shows you numbers within patterns of color and it tests the intensity or density of how much colorblindness there is over a spectrum but it really doesn't impact someone's life at all people with colorblindness function completely normally and there is no long-term issue with that eye exercises will improve your vision what do you think about that this is a myth can i just do this please yes so there is just so much misinformation out there when it comes to eye exercises many people think that if they do certain exercises that will help them decrease their myopia or their hyperopia or their astigmatism i wish that were true but there is no truth to that our eyes are shaped in a certain way our corneas are shaped a certain way the length of the eye is a certain way and what you do in terms of exercises will not change that so it is probably one of the biggest myths out there you may have heard of the 20 20 20 rule which is every 20 minutes take a 20 second break to look at something 20 feet away and really the whole goal of that is just to allow your eyes to relax often to the distance so that does help relieve a little bit of that strain but it certainly isn't something that corrects for your vision there is one condition where eye exercises can help it's a condition called convergence insufficiency where if we're looking at something up close for a long time the eyes get fatigued and start to drift out a little bit so there is one exercise called pencil push-ups where people can help strengthen those muscles and help them focus longer and not feel that fatigue maybe it'll prevent them from seeing double but it won't actually change the power or the refraction of the eye i think the best way to improve your vision is simply to go to the eye doctor find out what the issue is and get it taken care of wearing glasses will make your vision worse i get this all the time for my patients like doctor really do i need to wear these glasses isn't it going to make things worse the truth is no what happens is when people are seeing blurry they wear their glasses and then they see clearly but then they take their glasses off all of a sudden they're saying blurry again wearing them or not wearing them does not cause progression the change has more to do with genetics and just natural axial elongation of your eyeball so an analogy i like to use with my patients is let's say you hurt your ankle and you can't walk properly so use a crutch it's going to help you but it's not actually going to worsen your ankle so if your eye doctor thinks you need glasses or contacts and prescribes them for you it's for your benefit it will help you see better so please wear them dry eyes aren't very serious that's a tricky one most of the time dry eyes might not be serious but it could cause potential issues that lead to scarring on the cornea i would say 80 percent of the population might deal some sort of dryness in fact children are experiencing at a much younger age we're noticing that statistically speaking about 125 million people ages 18 to 50 experience dryness but they don't report it or do anything for it so if you can imagine when we are looking at our phones or reading a book we tend to just stare and that means our blink rate decreases by at least a half so we lose our blink completeness and over time our tears can evaporate much much quicker but when you go see your eye doctor usually they'll use different dyes or colored strips or that can help to stain the cornea to see exactly how much dryness you have and where the dryness is and there are actually ways to also image the glands the truth is you really need to use the drops very often it's not just once a day you need to use them multiple times during the day dry eyes like dry skin so lubricate frequently it's okay to get generic as long as you look at the ingredients and there's no ingredient called polyvinyl alcohol if you see anything with alcohol in there please don't buy it because that can actually irritate your eyes even more it's not fully ph balanced to your eye it could actually make things worse in most cases dry eyes are not serious but sometimes they can be so don't let it get to that level where it becomes serious if you sneeze with your eyes open they'll pop out i'll let you take it yeah i i don't know where to start with this myth there's a certain condition that can cause proptosis which is the bulging of the eyes though it's rare it just has to do with the elasticity of the lid itself if you have more relaxed lids and the eyes when you sneeze it can pop out a bit but certainly they don't fall out you don't have to search for them on the floor or anything like that we actually have in our eye socket it's a really intricate network of muscles and connective tissue that keep the eye in its place so you can see that there's one two three there's some on the bottom four and then there's two others in the back so there's six eye muscles behind each eye these eye muscles are connected to the back of the eye socket they hold everything in place so there is no way that the eye could actually come out of the eye socket it's a good thing our eyes actually automatically close when we sneeze as a natural reflex and it has to do with our body's way to really expel what it thinks is an issue or bacteria so it's probably impossible to sneeze with your eyes open so just let your body do its thing contact lenses can get lost behind your eye uh no definitely a myth because you have a protective barrier called the conjunctiva it's to prevent things from getting dislodged back there i've had a patient who came in and she kept thinking that the contact lens got lost or it fell out and when she came in the third or fourth time i saw that she had four contact lenses on her cornea and that's because she thought it fell out but it was still on there but she just kept putting in a fresh pair every single time all you really have to do is just make sure you blink a few times put in some artificial tears to get that contact lens to loosen up and eventually it should come out and you should be able to find it and pull it out of the eye most of the time i notice that patients just actually rub their eyes in the contact lens falls out and they think that it's so back in the eye and when i check it's not there that's happened to me yeah sunglasses aren't necessary myth total myth you do need sunglasses because we always want to protect our retina and our macula our lens and our cornea so these are mine um do you have yours i do i have mine i'll go ahead put them on honestly they make you look fashionable and cool while protecting your eyes at the same time we are constantly exposed to sunlight exposure even on cloudy days and when that happens even though the progression might be slow it can put our eyes at risk in the future for other issues or long-term consequences the uva and uvb rays are so powerful they can burn their cornea they can burn your retina they can lead to growths on the surface of the eye they can even lead to eye cancers or eyelid cancers here are some tips for sunglasses all sunglasses are not made the same darker does not always mean better so you want to make sure the label says 100 uva uvb protection or it might say absorption up to 400 nanometers you also want to make sure that you go for oversized or even one that wraps around because you actually are constantly exposed to sunlight from top and from the sides things like polarized lints doesn't always equal more uv protection same thing like mirror lenses or tinted lenses yeah they can definitely help they can cut the glare especially if you're skiing or out in the water snowboarding etc but you want to get the uv protection in addition to the polarization or the tint floaters are always harmless floaters are actually very very common but they're not always harmless there are a lot of different structures inside the eye but this structure here it's clear plastic but inside the eye it's actually a jelly called the vitreous that helps to keep the shape of the eye so it doesn't just collapse but this jelly is made out of lots of different things water and collagen and hyaluronic acid as we get older the jelly instead of being firm like jello starts to break down and when it breaks down into more of a liquid form we start to see little pieces of collagen floating around inside of it and these little pieces of collagen you know when light comes in through the front of the eye it hits those little collagen strands and creates a shadow on the retina and that's what we see as a floater i think it's estimated that about 80 percent of people have floaters in most cases they're benign but sometimes they can be associated with more serious eye conditions if you have a shower of new floaters it may be an indicator that you're developing a retinal tear or retinal detachment which is really an emergency you really need to get that checked out right away or sometimes people have floaters because they have inflammation inside the eye and that usually is associated with blurred vision flashes of light sometimes pain or redness definitely get it checked out if they're new if you've never had floaters before two blue-eyed parents can't have a brown-eyed kid that's a great one genetics is a complicated topic and even though you think that blue eyes are recessive and if you have two blue-eyed parents they're guaranteed to have a blue-eyed child it's not always the case there's a particular gene called oca2 it helps determine if someone's eye colors can be brown or blue but there are different ways the gene expresses itself so sometimes the gene is truly dominant but sometimes only partially dominant so there's a lot that goes into determining a baby's eye color but definitely it is possible not common but it is possible for two blue eyed parents to have a brown eyed child and also babies when they're born they tend to have lighter eye colors and then usually over the first couple of years of life usually by the age of two that color may darken to its ultimate final colors the pigment migrates into the iris sometimes it takes a while for that pigment to fully migrate and then fully kind of settle use your eyes when you first wake up to when you go to sleep so you want to protect it by making sure you wear sunglasses keep your eyes lubricated and to wear your correction and so definitely start early you know eat healthy exercise see your eye doctor if you do all these things you can hopefully maintain healthy vision for a lifetime you want to be proactive about it and prevent it from happening


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