Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • "If you cross your eyes, they'll stay that way."

  • Man, that's an oldie but a goodie.

  • "It's OK to go swimming

  • or take a shower in contact lenses."

  • All right, everybody does it.

  • But they really shouldn't.

  • "Styes are contagious."

  • No!

  • Not at all.

  • Styes are not contagious.

  • And you don't get them from pools.

  • And you don't get them from rubbing your eyes.

  • Rupa Wong: Doorknobs.

  • Jenifer Bossert: Kissing others.

  • No, you don't get them from any of those things.

  • Aloha, my name is Dr. Jenifer Bossert.

  • I am the optometrist at the Honolulu Eye Clinic.

  • I've been in practice for 30 years,

  • and my specialty is contact lenses.

  • And aloha, everyone.

  • I am Dr. Rupa Wong.

  • I am a board-certified ophthalmologist.

  • I've been in private practice here in Hawaii for 13 years

  • working alongside this wonderful lady here.

  • I specialize in pediatric ophthalmology

  • and adult strabismus.

  • And today we are here to debunk myths about vision.

  • We're going to start off with

  • debunking myths that we used to think were true.

  • "Reading in the dark or while lying down

  • will damage your vision."

  • No, this is a myth.

  • It does not damage your vision.

  • And my oldest son reads in the dark all the time.

  • My mother, obviously knows I'm an ophthalmologist,

  • still comes to my house and tells me,

  • "Your son should not read in the dark."

  • Not true.

  • Because people need good light to see better,

  • they assumed maybe that when you're reading in the dark,

  • because it is usually more challenging,

  • maybe they thought that was straining your eyes.

  • People confuse those issues with damaging your eyes.

  • "Eating carrots will improve your eyesight."

  • I have actually just studied

  • where the origin of this myth came from.

  • It's really interesting.

  • So, it was basically a campaign during World War II

  • because the British air fighter pilots

  • had this radar technology

  • to be able to detect the German targets.

  • But they didn't want the Germans to know

  • that they had the radar technology,

  • so they just said that their air pilots

  • were eating a lot of carrots

  • and therefore had good night vision.

  • How fascinating!

  • See? I learned something today.

  • I love it!

  • Wong: Vitamin A is very important for the metabolism

  • that's being performed in your retina.

  • Bossert: A, C, E, magnesium,

  • lutein, omega-3s,

  • those are the common ones that we all consider important

  • for optimum eye health.

  • Zinc.

  • Zinc.

  • Wong: All of these vitamins can help halt

  • the progression of macular degeneration,

  • but in the studies it didn't demonstrate

  • any more effect for people like us,

  • that don't have any macular degeneration.

  • "Wearing someone else's glasses will ruin your vision."

  • If a child, really younger than 13,

  • is wearing someone else's glasses,

  • it can ruin their vision if it is completely off.

  • Because if it's promoting blurry vision,

  • that's going to inhibit the growth

  • of the connections between the eyes and the brain.

  • So kids under 13, they are in a special period

  • of their vision development called the critical period.

  • So, absolutely, I never, ever recommend

  • that children wear anybody else's glasses.

  • But for adults, it's a little bit of a different story.

  • Bossert: With adults, it isn't going to harm your eyes,

  • but it can contribute to eye fatigue,

  • eye strain, headaches.

  • So, yes, we always encourage everybody

  • to get their annual checkups,

  • wear their own glasses,

  • and keep them updated.

  • "Sitting too close to the TV is bad for your eyesight."

  • Typically a parent wants their child

  • to move back from the television,

  • and it's a total myth.

  • And it doesn't harm an adult's eyes, either.

  • So, when I have a parent ask me that in the exam,

  • I encourage them to bring them in

  • so that we can actually check their child

  • and just see if it's a habit that the child has

  • or whether they actually have

  • an underlying nearsighted process occurring.

  • If they're sitting too close to the television,

  • then I'm concerned that maybe they've been

  • developing nearsightedness.

  • A young child doesn't know that that's happening.

  • Just because your parents are nearsighted

  • does not mean 100% you're going to be nearsighted.

  • Several studies have shown

  • that two hours a day of sunlight is helpful

  • at preventing nearsightedness progression.

  • So I always tell my patients to get outdoors,

  • but it's not so easy in other parts of the country or world.

  • "If you cross your eyes, they'll stay that way."

  • Man, that's an oldie but a goodie, I think.

  • I remember my grandmother telling me.

  • We were out running around, and kids all playing,

  • and my grandmother saying,

  • "Your eyes are going to stay that way!"

  • Of course, that is actually

  • my area of specialty, is crossed eyes.

  • That's what I do surgery for, to fix them.

  • And I can tell you, I've never had to operate on anybody

  • who crossed their eyes in intentionally

  • and it got stuck that way.

  • So that's a complete myth.

  • Some people are born with it.

  • We call that congenital esotropia.

  • Typically, if you're born with it,

  • you're born with crossed eyes.

  • Sometimes people develop it because the eye is blind

  • for whatever reason, a separate reason.

  • So if they're young, then the eye

  • tends to cross in with the blind eye.

  • If they're older and they sustain some kind of trauma

  • or injury to the eye to cause it to become blind,

  • then the eye wanders out.

  • 'Cause I've seen so many patients

  • that have come from other eye doctors

  • who have been told for years,

  • No. 1, "Your insurance doesn't cover it."

  • No. 2, "You're too old for this surgery."

  • I've operated on a 95-year-old.

  • "Squinting is bad for your eyes."

  • We do know that when you squint,

  • you tend to be able to see a little bit better

  • when you're nearsighted.

  • Something called the pinhole effect.

  • So that could be how that myth got started.

  • A parent might see their child squinting

  • and then think that it was the squinting

  • that actually caused the nearsightedness,

  • but it was the opposite.

  • The nearsightedness caused the squinting.

  • "You will become dependent on your glasses

  • if you wear them too much."

  • As someone who now has started to need reading glasses,

  • it is really hard to not believe this myth.

  • I, when I take my reading glasses off,

  • I swear I could see the iPhone way better.

  • Bossert: It's not that the glasses made your vision worse,

  • it's just that your brain got used to having

  • good, sharp vision when you put them on.

  • So then when you take them off,

  • your brain's like,

  • "No! I want them back again!

  • I like seeing clearly!"

  • "You can't wear your contacts

  • if you have astigmatism."

  • This is definitely not true.

  • I still hear that in this day and age,

  • despite media campaigns,

  • despite information dissemination.

  • People still believe that if they have astigmatism,

  • they won't be able to wear contact lenses.

  • Or that they're going to have to be hard contact lenses.