If you have had a question about vision or eyesight but keep forgetting to ask while at your annual comprehensive eye exam, we may have a few answers for you! Below we have answered a few common questions or even misconceptions that we hear.
Q: Will reading in the dark damage my eyes?
A: Reading in the dark will not physically cause harm to the eyes. It might be harder to see clearly, and you may experience more fatigue reading in the dark, but it’s not causing any long-term damage. Because it can impact your comfort, turning on a light might be a good solution!
Q: Can you tell if I have diabetes just by looking at my eyes?
A: While we can’t formally diagnose diabetes just from what is seen during an eye exam (bloodwork is required for that), your optometrist can see signs of the disease when diabetes is present. In these cases, we may see specific types of bleeding, changes to the blood vessels or fluid in the retina. During your comprehensive eye exam, your optometrist can see signs of many different systemic conditions in the eyes including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and anemia.
Q: Will eating carrots improve my vision?
A: Unfortunately, no matter how many carrots you eat, they will not improve your eyesight or change your prescription. Carrots are a great source of vitamins which are very important to keeping the different structures of your eye healthy long term. They contain beta-carotene which our body converts into Vitamin A. A few other veggies that contain vitamins important for our eye health are spinach, kale, collards, turnip greens, corn, peas, and broccoli. In addition to nutrition, don’t forget to wear sunglasses with both polarization and UV protection as well.
Q: Am I a LASIK candidate?
A: Many criterion are considered before undergoing LASIK surgery to correct vision. These include age, stability of prescription, amount of prescription, and any eye conditions that could put you at risk of a poor outcome. These factors are best discussed with your optometrist. Many LASIK surgery centers offer free consultations to answer these question but will also need information from your most recent comprehensive eye exam. There are additional measurements that are taken at these consultations to verify that your cornea can safely undergo the procedure. Speak with your optometrist to learn more about your next step in determining if you are a good candidate.
Q: If I wear my glasses, will my eyes become weaker?
A: No! The research shows that full correction does not cause a worsening of your prescription. Sometimes what people notice is that the poor vision they have just been dealing with looks particularly bad when compared directly with how clear it can be through their new glasses. The brain doesn’t like blur but will tolerate it if it hasn’t seen any better. Actually, wearing the appropriate correction can help alleviate underlying eye strain, headache and fatigue induced by trying to compensate for an underperforming visual system.
Q: Do cataracts run in the family?
A: Typically, cataracts are a normal age-related change. Every person on the planet will have cataract changes eventually, usually becoming visually significant in our 60s or 70s – although this may happen earlier or later in life as well. Very early cataract formation can run in the family due to underlying genetic conditions. That is why early eye exams at ages 1, 3 and 5, are so important. Some medications and systemic diseases can also induce early cataract formation. It is also why your eye doctor always takes a thorough systemic history and wants to know all the medications and supplements you are taking.
Q: Do blue light glasses work?
A: Blue light filters on glasses block blue wavelengths of light which are emitted from devices. The reality is that the amount of blue light you are exposed to from device screens will not physically harm your retina. However, blue light does impact your circadian rhythm and an excess during the day can disrupt your ability to get restful sleep, which can make you feel more fatigued than normal. Rather than simply buying a pair of blue light glasses over the counter, if you are experiencing eye strain or fatigue from computer work, please visit your optometrist! You are likely experiencing symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) and there are many things in addition to blue light filters that can be done to help your eyes stay healthy and comfortable.
Q: Does smoking marijuana really treat glaucoma?
A: There is a very small intraocular pressure lowering effect from smoking marijuana. It is not sufficient to treat glaucoma! We use eye drops and/or surgeries when appropriate to lower the intraocular pressure safely and in a consistent, reliable way.
When in doubt, schedule an appointment with your optometrist to discuss any concerns about your vision or eye health. We love to answer your questions! Comprehensive eye exams are also important to detect any eye health and vision concerns before they become a problem. If you don’t have an optometrist, find one here!