The misconceptions about what causes vision problems are many. Some falsehoods are more common than others, yet most can be argued with facts to the contrary. Consequently, the best way to bust a myth is to learn more about what you don't know.
If kids cross their eyes too many times, their eyes will eventually stay crossed.
Not true. Sometimes kids cross their eyes on purpose. It may make them look funny, but it won't hurt their vision. When children relax the muscles at work, their eyes return to normal. The time to get concerned is when the muscle movements aren't voluntary, and one eye appears to be looking in a different direction.
Strabismus is a condition where a child's eyes aren't properly aligned. One eye may turn in, out, up, down, or at an angle. In many cases, it's an inherited trait that runs in families. Certain medical conditions or uncorrected farsightedness can also cause the condition.
Strabismus may affect only one eye or alternate between both eyes. It can be constant or intermittent. If left untreated, vision can become impaired, and your child can develop double vision or severe amblyopia, also known as lazy eye.
Kids don't outgrow strabismus, says the American Optometric Association. In fact, if left untreated, the condition can get worse. Treatment may include corrective lenses, vision therapy, or prism lenses. In some cases, treatment may involve eye muscle surgery.
Wearing glasses all the time can make your eyes worse.
Not true. Whether your eyes get worse over time has to do with a number of different factors, including age, genetics, eye disease or injury, medications, hormonal fluctuations, or a medical condition such as diabetes.
Prescription lenses serve a purpose -- to help you see more clearly. If your eyes seem to be getting worse, it may be that your prescription has changed. Report any vision changes to your eye doctor.
The American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus points out that not wearing eyeglasses can make a child's vision worse. Since doctors prescribe eyeglasses for children to help their vision develop normally, eye problems usually progress over time if they don't wear their prescription lenses.
Girls can't be color blind.
Not true. While color blindness is more common among boys than girls, females can be color blind too. The blame falls on the X chromosome -- the chromosome that carries the gene for color blindness -- as it's usually an inherited condition.
Males get one X chromosome, which comes from their mothers, as a father can only pass an X chromosome to female children. If the X chromosome a son receives from his mother carries the color-blind gene, he will be color blind. A female must inherit a color-blind X chromosome from both her mother and her father to be color blind.
Frequent computer use can damage your eyes.
Not true. While sitting in front of a computer for long periods of time won't cause permanent damage to your eyes, it can lead to eyestrain. Staring at video games and smartphones can have the same effect, as can reading, writing, and driving for extended periods of time. Although uncomfortable, eyestrain is rarely a serious condition.
Symptoms of eyestrain may include sore eyes, dry or watery eyes, blurred or double vision, headaches, and difficulty focusing. You can reduce symptoms by giving your eyes a rest and changing your close-up work habits. If eye fatigue persists, see your eye doctor to rule out an underlying condition.
Sitting too close to the television will hurt your eyes.
Not true. You've probably caught yourself saying "Don't sit so close to the TV" more times than you can count. If anything, when kids sit right smack in front of the television screen, it could be a sign that a child is nearsighted.
A visit to the eye doctor for a routine eye exam will determine whether your child is nearsighted, which can cause blurry vision, particularly when it comes to trying to focus on things farther away. Nearsightedness can get worse as a child grows. Treatment involves prescribing eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct vision.
While sitting on top of the television won't do irreparable damage to the eyes, it can cause eye strain and eye fatigue. For little ones who sit on the floor to watch television, tilting their heads up to see the screen can cause eye strain.
For more information about vision problem myths, talk to optometrists like Drs. Farson and Murray Optometrists.
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