We pretty much use our eyes every single second of the day, that is of course unless we are sleeping, so I think most people would agree they are pretty important to us! Our eyes start taking in information from the minute we are born and during the first 2 -3 years they learn to recognise every conceivable shape, colour and shade. It is advised that we have our eyes tested every 2 years and this is regardless of whether we feel our vision has changed or not. Even people who have had laser eye surgery should still get regular checkups to ensure their eyes are healthy. We only get one pair of eyes and we should look after them. As an Optometrist I regularly get asked certain things about the eyes and it surprises me just how much bad information there is out there. During this post I am going to list my top 5 things that people get wrong about their eye’s so here goes!
- Floaters are caused by things blowing into our eyes: Around half of the population have floaters in their eyes, so this point should be relevant to at least 50% of people who are reading it! Floaters are the speck or thread like (people describe them in all sorts of ways!) particles that we notice floating around in our vision from time to time. They are normally more noticeable if we are tired and if we are looking against a white back ground. People often assume that floaters are caused by something externally blowing in to the eye but this is absolutely not true. Floaters are formed in the inside of the central part of your eye, in the jelly like substance called the Vitreous. They have a variety of causes but the most common one is just old dead cells breaking down.
- Computers damage our eyes: This is another myth and people often talk about computers like they are this all conquering evil when it comes to our eyes! It is true that doing a lot of close work such as computer work, can make us more likely to become short sighted, or for our short sightedness to deteriorate but it is no worse than us reading a book. Put another way, if you replaced your computer screen with a piece of paper at the exact same distance it would be just as likely to cause your short sightedness!
- Cataracts only occur in really old people: It is true that as we get older we are more likely to get cataracts but people of all ages can develop them. People quite commonly get cataracts in their early 50’s but the average age to get the start of cataracts is around 67 years old. Children can be born with cataracts which need early surgical intervention so their eyes can fully develop.
- Cataracts are a skin growing over the eye: No skin grows over the eyes with cataracts and they are merely a slow clouding of the lens in your eye. We all have a natural lens in our eye which focuses objects at different distances and over time it goes from being completely transparent to being cloudy. Cataracts are easily removed with a simple operation.
- Wearing glasses makes our eyes worse: This is a very common assumption and it can be difficult to convince people that it is not true! What actually happens is when you wear glasses you realise how much better your vision can be. Imagine you have been walking around in a blur for the past few years and then you suddenly put glasses on and the world suddenly becomes clear and in focus. When you then take your glasses off you feel like your eyes have got worse but it is merely a case of you now know what you are missing!
It just goes to show things aren’t always what they seem and you shouldn’t believe everything you hear! I hope this blog post has been interesting and I hope it inspires you to get your eyes checked regularly. . You can read more about your eyes at Treatment Saver which provides easy to understand and independent information