Eye Care: Improving Your Vision and Debunking Misconceptions
Dr. Van Answers Questions & Misconceptions
If you have a question about vision or eyesight but forget to ask while at your annual comprehensive eye exam, we may have some answers for you!
Here are a few common questions or misconceptions we have heard.
Q: Will reading in the dark damage my eyes?
A: Reading in the dark will not physically cause harm to the eyes. It might be harder to see clearly, and you may experience more fatigue reading in the dark, but it’s not causing any long-term damage. Because it can impact your comfort, turning on a light might be a good solution!
Q: Can you tell if I have diabetes just by looking at my eyes?
A: While we can’t formally diagnose diabetes just from what is seen during an eye exam (bloodwork is required for that), your optometrist can see signs of the disease when diabetes is present. In these cases, we may see specific types of bleeding, changes to the blood vessels, or fluid in the retina. During your comprehensive eye exam, your optometrist can see signs of many different systemic conditions in the eyes including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and anemia.
Q: Will eating carrots improve my vision?
A: Unfortunately, no matter how many carrots you eat, they will not improve your eyesight or change your prescription. Carrots are a great source of vitamins which are very important to keep the different structures of your eye in good health long term. They contain beta-carotene which our body converts into Vitamin A.
A few other veggies that contain vitamins important for our eye health are spinach, kale, collards, turnip greens, corn, peas, and broccoli.
In addition to nutrition for better eye health, don’t forget other methods such as wearing sunglasses with both polarization and UV protection.
Q: Am I a LASIK candidate?
A: Many criteria are considered before undergoing LASIK surgery to correct vision. These include age, stability of prescription, amount of current prescription, and any eye conditions that could put you at risk of a poor outcome. These factors are best discussed with Dr. Van.
Dr. Van Amerongen offers a free consultation to answer these questions. He will also need information from your most recent comprehensive eye exam. There are additional measurements that are taken at these consultations to verify that your cornea can safely undergo the procedure.
Speak with Dr. Van to learn more about your next step in determining if you are a good candidate.
Q: If I wear my glasses, will my eyes become weaker?
A: No! The research shows that full correction does not cause a worsening of your prescription. Sometimes people notice that the poor vision they have had looks particularly bad when compared with how clear things look through their new glasses. The brain doesn’t like a blur but will tolerate it when it hasn’t seen better.
The appropriate vision correction can help alleviate underlying eye strain, headache, and fatigue caused by trying to compensate for an underperforming vision correction.
Q: Do cataracts run in the family?
A: Typically, cataracts are a normal age-related change. Every person on the planet will have cataract changes eventually, usually becoming visually significant in our 60s or 70s – although this may happen earlier or later in life as well. Very early cataract formation can run in the family due to underlying genetic conditions.
That is why eye exams starting at age 5 are so important. Some medications and systemic diseases can also induce early cataract formation. It is also why Van’s Eyecare, and your Loveland eye doctor, always take a thorough systemic history and want to know all the medications and supplements you are using.
An annual exam will keep Dr. Van informed of the growth of any cataracts and he will recommend any necessary next steps.
Q: Do blue light glasses work?
A: Blue light filters on glasses block blue wavelengths of light which are emitted from devices. The reality is that the amount of blue light you are exposed to from device screens will not physically harm your retina. However, blue light does impact your circadian rhythm, and excess during the day can disrupt your ability to get restful sleep, making you feel more fatigued than normal.
There are many things in addition to blue light filters that can be used to help your eyes stay healthy and comfortable. Just ask Dr. Van.
If you experience eye strain or fatigue from computer work, rather than simply buying a pair of blue light glasses over the counter, please call Van’s Eyecare, your Loveland optometrist! You may have symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome. Bring your prescription to Steve Guild or Anna Allison, the opticians at Van’s Eyecare. They will make a custom pair of computer glasses for you. Your computer work will be much more comfortable!
Q: Does smoking marijuana really treat glaucoma?
A: There is a very small intraocular pressure-lowering effect from smoking marijuana. It is not sufficient to treat glaucoma! We use eye drops and/or surgeries when appropriate to lower the intraocular pressure safely and in a consistent, reliable way.
Do you have another question?
When in doubt about anything eye-related, schedule an appointment with Van’s Eyecare to discuss any concerns about your vision or eye health. We love to answer your questions!
Comprehensive eye exams are also important to detect eye health and vision concerns before they become a problem. If you don’t have an optometrist, find one here!