I live on planet Earth; hence, I’ve heard several ridiculous eye myths that can easily pass off as facts. Actually, they do. If you’re an Earthling, then you must keep on reading to truly know what causes bad eyesight. Don’t worry, your eyes will be fine and better by the time you’re done.

When it comes to our eye health, there’s a mass amount of false information out there on what causes bad eyesight. These pieces of information have been passed down from generations and are now regarded as absolute truth. Thankfully, they aren’t because that’s just a lot of don’ts to fidget over. How come there are so many negative eye myths sef?

Does Reading Too Many Books Damage Eyesight? How About Reading in Dim Light?

If you’ve never truly believed that being an avid book reader can damage eyesight, then this will delight you!

Reading too many books do not cause any permanent eye damage. There’s no scientific backing to prove that readers will develop eye problems just because they read way too many books than the average non-reader.

This also applies to reading in dim light. While reading in dim light does not cause eye damage nor weaken your eyesight, it can however result in headaches and eye strain. Moreover, it’s easier to read in good lighting conditions than to read in the dark. If you’re struggling to make out the words, then you find a better source of light. That way you get to read with ease and your attention isn’t divided by trying to make out a word every other second.

When reading for long hours with the books only a few inches away from you, you must assume a good posture and take regular breaks to blink. Why? 

However, reading on screens in extremely bright light can cast a glare on your screen, thus predisposing you to eye strains.

Does Staring At A Computer Screen Damage Eyesight?

When I’m on my phone all day, I can’t help but wonder just how much damage I might be doing to my eyes. We all do!

Desktops, laptops, TVs, tabs and phones all count as screens and fortunately, there is no substantial proof that looking at screens weaken eyesight or cause any permanent damage to the eyes. But just like reading in dim light, they can and will cause eye strain, tired eyes, blurry vision, headaches, and make your eyes dry.

Why? When we blink, it serves as a form of moisturizing action. It lubricates our eyes and watching screens means we blink less than often, hence, our eyes will dry out and have blurry visions. One reason why staring at screens is a bad idea is that computer screens (excluding LCD and LED TVs) emit blue light which can easily wear our eyes out. Also, there’s the contrast, brightness, glare and posture to worry about.

Note: These symptoms are temporary and differ from the condition, dry eye syndrome which is associated with insufficient tear production.

Dry eyes as a result of spending too much time on screens don’t lead to you developing poor eyesight. This goes away on its own once you’re off the screen. That’s why it’s advisable to take regular blinking breaks if you spend a greater part of your day on screens.

Take a moment and blink

Does Sitting Too Close to The TV Cause Eye Problems Like Myopia?

Myopia is near-sightedness and every year; more and more children are diagnosed with myopia. The exact causes of myopia remain unknown to the scientific world and quite often, myopia has been linked to sitting too close to TVs in many homes.

What does science say? According to the American Academy of Ophthalmologists, sitting close to the TV does not cause eye problems, especially in children. Though it doesn’t harm one’s eyes, it does strain the eyes and can give one a good dose of headache. Children’s desire to sit close to the TV is most likely because sitting closer to the TV makes them feel comfy and more engaged in what they’re watching. Moreover, at that age, their eyes focus better on near objects.

However, a child’s primary reason for sitting closer to the TV might be because the child is already near-sighted. It’s advisable to check if your child can see objects that are far off and of course, to check in with an eye doctor.

Summary of what causes bad eyesight: Whenever you’re doing an activity and your eyes begin to hurt, take a break and rest your eyes. Reading too many books, getting way too much screen time and sitting too close to the TV or engaging in near-sighted activities (like sewing) for a long while will not cause you to develop eye problems. It doesn’t weaken one’s eyesight. But they do cause tired eyes, dry eyes, digital eye strain, blurry vision, and headaches if done for too long.

Tips on How to Prevent Digital Eye Strain in Children and Adults

Digital eye strain is a set of symptoms that occurs due to the repetitive use of screens. If you stare at screens for a long time repeatedly, then you most likely will suffer from one of these symptoms. The symptoms are temporary and eventually go away on their own.

As earlier mentioned, the symptoms include: dry eyes or watery eyes, difficulty focusing, blurry vision, irritated eyes, headaches and even includes the back and neck aches that come from being in a bad posture. It affects both children and adults.

More adults are transitioning to jobs that require them to work long hours every day on screens, hence the need to get acquainted with these tips. Children on the other hand are faced with the increasing use of digital educational programs alongside their regular entertainment program.

What can you do?
  1. Ensure that children aren’t getting too much screen time. 
  2. Get regular breaks when using screens or engaging in near-sighted activities. The 20-20-20 rule says you take a break every 20 minutes while focusing on an object 20 feet away for just 20 seconds – Now, that’s pretty easy. Encourage children to do the same.
  3. Assume an ideal and comfortable posture. If your back/body aches or you don’t feel comfortable, then switch to a better posture.
  4. Eliminate the glare from your external surrounding: The lighting around your screen shouldn’t be too bright – your screen should be against the light.
  5. Do hard copy books instead of e-books whenever you can. Remind yourself to blink regularly, at least every 20 minutes or after every chapter read. If font-size is too small, use e-book readers that allow you to increase font-size.
  6. Instead of replacing your kids’ educational material with digital media, do the reverse. Replace educational digital tools with actual materials, when and if possible.
  7. Try as much as you can to blink when using a screen – You can use the 20-20-20 rule.
  8. Get computer glasses but consult your eye doctor for the best fit.
  9. Substitute excess screen time for kids with other activities like arts and crafts or games.

Other Eye Myths And The Truth About Them

Let’s bust a few more myths.

Wearing someone’s glasses will damage your eyes?

It won’t. But be ready to brace the headaches and blurry vision that’ll come from doing so. And besides, it does looks weird asking everyone who wears glasses if you can wear theirs (rolls eyes). Wearing glasses with lower prescriptions will not cause your eyes to deteriorate faster but it does cause your eyes to feel strained and tired. Get the right prescriptions and if you do not require prescribed glasses, stop seeking for them.

Will eating carrots and other vitamin A-rich foods improve my eyesight?

The American Academy of Ophthalmologists and other eye doctors acknowledge the fact that carrots and other foods rich in vitamin A are good for your eyes. However, they won’t improve or enhance your vision – they only maintain eyesight.

That is, if you already have an eye problem, eating carrots will not cure your eye problem but can help in ensuring that your eyes do not further deteriorate. Other foods rich in vitamin A are egg yolk, cheese, liver, vegetables, fruits, and milk. Perhaps, these foods will do much more good to your eyes if you didn’t get enough vitamin A – vitamin A deficiency isn’t common.

Does sun gazing harm eyes?

Yes, it does. The sun emits ultraviolet radiation which damages the retina, thus leading to eye problems such as corneal dystrophies, macular degeneration, solar retinitis, etc. headaches and temporary distortion of vision is quite common as well.

Gazing at the sun during a solar eclipse has the same effects on the eyes. Though the brightness of the sun is hidden, the ultraviolet radiation isn’t.

The Gist

What causes bad eyesight if not these practices addressed so far? These do not cause poor eyesight but they do cause certain temporary issues like eye strain or computer vision syndrome. 

Hence, it’s advisable that while engaging in these practices, if at all we must, then we must do so in a better way. Follow the tips. Take blinking breaks, not just tea breaks. Posture – don’t underestimate this one. See an eye doctor – other eye diseases are quite worrying like glaucoma. Most importantly, if your eyes hurt, then stop.


Naga Odigie

When I'm not obsessing about the wonders and dynamics of the human brain, I'm a secondary caregiver and a biomedical scientist roaming the city of Benin.

7 Comments

Philemon · September 20, 2020 at 6:20 am

Naga at it again.

Good piece. Learnt a thing or two, even more.

Thank you

    Naga Odigie · September 20, 2020 at 6:52 am

    So glad you enjoyed and learnt from it🤗

Chelsea · September 20, 2020 at 1:46 pm

Learnt a lot thanks.

    Naga Odigie · September 23, 2020 at 1:07 am

    You’re welcome 😌

Oyathekhua Nicholas · September 21, 2020 at 5:57 pm

Whoa! This is really enlightening. Thanks.

    Naga Odigie · September 23, 2020 at 1:08 am

    🤗So glad you enjoyed it!

Sifon Sunday Umoh · August 26, 2021 at 10:42 am

Love this. Really nice

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