12 Most Asked Questions About Eyes
Working in busy practices and having seen thousands of patients over years of testing eyes means that some questions have popped up more frequently than others. Our lead optometrist, Mai Monavar, shares her 12 most asked questions about eyes.
1. Does reading in the dark make the eyes worse?
No it won’t. Trying to make out small details when there is less light can be challenging and can in some cases lead to a headache due to strain, but it won’t cause damage to the eyes or cause them to worsen. Keep in mind that looking at screens at night time can affect your circadian rhythm/ability to go to sleep, so limiting screen usage late at night can help with getting to sleep.
2. Can carrots really improve eyesight?
Carrots are a good source of vitamin A, which the body needs to maintain healthy corneas (the important clear membrane at the very front of the eyes) and the compound rhodopsin, which the retina needs to be able to maintain good vision in low-light conditions . You can obtain just under the recommended daily amount of vitamin A from one medium sized carrot per day. Alternatively you could check the formulations of daily multivitamins to ensure you’re taking on the amount you need (typically men need a little more than women).
3. Can sitting too close to a screen damage my eyes or make them worse?
Sitting too close to any screen can place undue strain on the visual system. This can make your eyes feel achy, strained or may give you a headache, but it cannot cause damage to your eyes or make your eyesight worse.
4. Is looking at the sun really dangerous for my eyes?
Looking at the sun could result in permanent damage to your eyes. All exposure to naturally occurring sunlight adds to the cumulative effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation on your eyes. Excess UV exposure has been linked to eye disorders such as macular degeneration, solar retinitis and corneal dystrophies.
5. Will wearing glasses weaken my eyes and/or make them dependent on glasses?
The reason anyone needs glasses is because of one or a combination of architectural discrepancies of the eyes, and your glasses cannot change the physical architecture of your eyes, therefore they won’t make them worse or cure your eyes of your prescription. Your eyes also cannot grow weaker as a result of using your spectacles, as spectacles have no impact on how your eye muscles work. Your prescription always changes in some way over time due to the natural aging process or the presence of disease, but it is never because of your spectacles.
6. Can I wear contact lenses if I need reading glasses or have astigmatism?
Yes! Contact lenses don’t deliver the same vision that spectacles do, but there are many options for people who need distance as well as close range vision and who have astigmatism. Most prescriptions are also available in daily disposable contact lenses.
Have you tried Eyebou's daily disposable vitamin contact lenses? They're immersed in a solution containing vitamins B6, B12, and E, keeping your eyes feeling refreshed throughout the day! They're also available on subscription, which means your order will automatically renew when you finish your current batch of vitamin contact lenses.
7. Can cataracts be removed with lasers?
The most common method of removing cataracts in the West is via ultrasound. However laser’s are often used in around 40% of cases following a cataract operation to “clean up” any inflammatory material that has stuck to the back of the implant following the initial surgery. This isn’t a further surgery and is a very common and quick follow up procedure.
8. Can eyes be transplanted?
One very particular membrane of the eye at the very front of the eye called the cornea, can be transplanted, however it is currently impossible to transplant an entire eye.
9. Can crossed eyes be treated?
Strabismus (crossed eyes) causes two things; 1) a misalignment of the eyes and 2) the malaligned eye to not see so well, even with glasses on. Strabismus doesn’t improve on its own. Surgical alignment is required to straighten the eye, and glasses are needed to help the affected eye to see and develop correctly. It’s important to know that the surgical alignment can be performed at any age, however to enable the affected eye to see well and develop correctly, treatment needs to be applied in young children, usually before 6 or 7 years old. That’s why it is important for your child to have regular eye examinations from an early age and to speak to your GP if you notice a constant misalignment of your child’s eyes.
Did you know that you can test your child's eye health with a quick strabismus check on the Eyebou iOS app? It's free, and could help detect strabismus at an early age.
10. Why does my eye keep twitching?
Eyelid twitches feel super weird, but are actually very common! They appear usually as a little red flag from the body when we are overly stressed, fatigued or generally run-down. They tend to disappear once you’ve been able to have some rest and don’t require any treatment. It is important however, to have twitches seen to by your GP if they are not resolving, as they could indicate a underlying neurological change that might require further investigation.
11. What exercises can I do to improve eyesight?
Unfortunately there isn’t any evidence to suggest that there are any currently. The best way to maintain your eye health and sight, is to live a healthy, varied life. Our bodies naturally decline with age, and the eyes are not immune from this, so it is natural for our sight to change as we age, but living a healthy life will maintain your eye health and sight for longer.
12. What are those floater bits and are they a problem?
The eye is filled with a clear jelly, and it’s normal for some cells to sometimes come away from the inside of the eye and just sit in this jelly, and because your eye is a sealed object, there's nowhere for them to go. This creates a shadow on the retina, appearing as “floaters”. Usually when you have new floaters, they appear dark in colour and they’re annoying. But because they’re annoying, your brain gets really good at masking/hiding these shadows, and you notice them less and less. Unless, you’re more tired or stressed, or you’re looking at a very bright background, like a blue sky, a bright screen or snow - in which case, your brain is unable to mask these shadows. Generally it’s normal to develop these over the span on our lives, but sometimes they can signify other changes at the back of the eye that should be investigated more closely, particularly if you’re noticing a high number of floaters and they’re accompanied by flashing lights. If you notice other concerning changes to your vision like distortions or loss of vision, this should never be ignored and you should prioritise getting your eyes checked quickly, especially if you’re over 60yrs old or of any age and have myopia over -5.00DS.
This article was written by Mai Monavar, Eyebou's lead optometrist.