There is a lot of misinformation out there about all sorts of things. From longstanding wives' tales to the overload of garbage internet information, we are bombarded with nonsense advice and misinformation from all sides. Practicing as an optometrist for almost 10 years, I have heard it all. It isn't just because I practice in South Beach, Miami Beach. I also heard a lot of these same myth's come up when I was in Atlanta and New York City. I wanted to help answer a few of the most common eye myths I have heard in the list below. We all know someone who believes #1!
1) Wearing glasses creates a dependence on this prescription which will further make your eyes worse and increase your prescription with time.
This is a pervasive false belief that vision correction of refractive error will create dependence. Having clearer vision intuitively makes you want to wear your prescription to see clearly and does not influence or further change that prescription. On the other-hand, not correcting your vision and straining your eye muscles actually has the possibility of worsening your vision. It's as simple as understanding that our prescription is never 100% static and if we experience clear vision, most of us will want to maintain that by correcting our vision as it changes with time with updated corrective lenses.
2) Visine or any other similar redness reliever is the solution to help reduce chronic red eyes.
This is actually completely false as the mechanism of a vasoconstrictor eye drop will weaken the small muscles lining the blood vessels over time, thus making redness worse in the future. It's like painting over mold from a leaky pipe. The problem is still there and this isn't a solution. The best correction is to find the cause of the redness and treat it. Many causes such as dry eye inflammation or other inflammatory conditions can be identified at your annual eye examination and treated appropriately...
3) I can see perfect, therefore I do not need to get an annual eye examination.
If this logic held true none of us would visit the dentist or our primary care physician until our teeth were falling out or we were about to die. The comprehensive eye exam is not just to determine if you need glasses or contacts. This exam is extremely diagnostic evaluation of our ocular and systemic health. It can reveal symptomless diseases that could cause blindness or even death. If you have not had an eye exam within the last year, you need to see your doctor. It is recommended to be seen once a year just like a dental exam. If you have systemic conditions such as diabetes or hypertension, the frequency of exams can increase and almost always involve a dilated examination.
4) I can't wear contact lenses or get LASIK surgery in South Beach because I have astigmatism.
This is a common belief I hear from many patients which is completely false. It is possible that you may not tolerate certain types of contacts or qualify for LASIK if you have extreme or irregular astigmatism. Astigmatism is simply a condition in which there is a steeper curvature of your cornea in relation to another portion. Almost all patients with mild to moderate forms of astigmatism can wear contacts easily and qualify for some form of refractive surgery.
5) I can use eye exercises to reduce my need for eyeglasses in South Beach.
Unless you have a rare accommodative (focusing) disorder, a typical refractive error cannot be corrected by strengthening the muscles of the eye. There are many techniques which are out there claiming they can help improve a patient's vision by using "eye strengthening" techniques, which for most cases are just bank account strengthening techniques for this company. The only true way of correcting your vision is finding a corrective lens or surgical procedure which will alleviate the defocus of the optical system of the eye. There are cases where eye exercises can help children and other patients with binocular vision disorders. However this cannot correct or alleviate refractive error, which is the number one reason for the need for glasses and contact lenses.
6) I can wear my pair of contact lenses in South Beach as long as I want until I feel they are uncomfortable.
This dangerous idea can lead to severe vision loss. Contact lenses are medical devices manufactured with specific use parameters. As the materials breakdown overtime and collect pathogens the lens can break down your protective barriers to infection. The most common reason optometrists see vision loss nowadays is from corneal damage from contact lens abuse, which cannot be reversed in many cases and leads to loss of vision. In some cases this can even lead to blindness. Contact lens wear and disposal schedules should be strictly adhered to as dictated by your optometrist.
7) Online prescription eye wear in South Beach is equivalent to eye wear purchased at your optometrist's office.
There is the old adage "you get what you pay for". This holds true for prescription eye glasses and lenses. Just because a pair of glasses look similar to a quality brand name quality product doesn't make it equal. The craftsmanship, materials, and hardware comprising cheaper versions of eye glasses are in no way different from buying a knock-off version of a piece of clothing, bag, or watch. Why some people believe that isn't true is mind boggling. I bet those same people would likely tell you they would never consider buying a cheap Chinese version of the designer Italian purse or Swiss watch they admire for quality. Eye glasses are functional medical devices and the expert fitting, quality materials, and craftsmanship do differ significantly from their cheaper wannabes. If you don't believe me just try to get those cheap online frames adjusted by your computer monitor when they don't fit right and you can’t see quite as well. Common sense is a rare commodity these days. Don't wasn't it on garbage when it comes to your vision.
Make sure you see your doctor of optometry annually and stop believing everything you read or hear from a pseudo-expert. Your Optometrist is your eye expert and will help you understand fact from fiction.