London: The UK’s leading body for eye health professionals, the College of Optometrists, reveals ten eye secrets.
1. Wearing someone else’s glasses may damage your eyes.
False: Although you may not be able to see very well with them and may get a headache or double vision, you won’t come to any harm from wearing glasses that are not your prescription (unless you’re driving a motor vehicle).
2. Watching TV too much or too closely will damage your eyes.
False: Watching too much TV or sitting very close to it may make your eyes tired or give you a headache – particularly if you are watching TV in the dark when you are effectively looking at a moving light, like a torch but won’t cause any serious permanent damage.
3. Masturbation makes you go blind.
False: The only correlation between the two is that semen contains a large amount of zinc and a deficiency in zinc (although nearly impossible to achieve solely by masturbating) will cause a decline in a person’s vision.
4. Cutting your eyelashes off or putting Vaseline on them makes them grow back or appear fuller.
False: Cutting your eyelashes off makes you look like an idiot and your eyelashes do not grow back fuller. Putting Vaseline on them only gives you a greasy pillowcase.
5. Exercising the eye muscles can allow you to ‘throw away your glasses’.
False: People (normally) need specs because of the shape and size of their eye (i.e. their eyes are too big or too small). Exercises won’t help this.
6. Not wearing your glasses will make you depend upon them less.
False: If you don’t wear your glasses you may become more accustomed to the blur and won’t remember how bad it is, and thereby think that your eyes have got better (when they haven’t).
7. By looking at the patterns, colours and other characteristics of the iris you can tell what health problems a person has.
False: There is no scientific proof for this. However, when an optometrist carries out an eye examination they will not only test your sight, but will also check the health of your eyes and look for signs of some general health problems.
8. Eating carrots will improve your eyesight.
Some truth: Carrots are a source of vitamin A, which is important for the eyes. However, before you embark on an all-carrot diet to improve your vision, note that it is more important for eye health to have a good balanced diet that supports your all-round health. Poor nutrition has been implicated in diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
9. Using your eyes too much can wear them out.
False: They will last for your whole life if they are healthy (or have conditions that are treatable). The health of your eyes has nothing to do with the number of hours you use them.
10. Holding books up close will damage a child’s eyes.
False: Where or how your child holds a book has no effect on the health of the eyes or the need for glasses. Sometimes children find it more comfortable to read close-up and their very good focusing ability makes it easy for them to do so.
About the College of Optometrists
1. The College of Optometrists is the Professional, Scientific and Examining Body for Optometry in the UK, working for the public benefit. Supporting its Members in all aspects of professional development, the College provides pre-registration training and assessment, continuous professional development opportunities, and advice and guidance on professional conduct and standards, enabling our Members to serve their patients well and contribute to the wellbeing of local communities.
2. Previously known as ophthalmic opticians, optometrists are trained professionals who examine eyes, test sight, give advice on visual problems, and prescribe and dispense spectacles or contact lenses. They also recommend other treatments or visual aids where appropriate. Optometrists are trained to recognise eye diseases, referring such cases as necessary, and can also use or supply various eye drugs.
3. Optometrists study at university for at least three years and participate in a full year of training and supervision, called the pre-registration year, before qualifying. Once qualified, they have the opportunity to develop their interests in specialist aspects of practice such as contact lenses, treating eye diseases, low vision, children’s vision and sports vision.
4. All optometrists practising in the UK must be registered with the General Optical Council, the profession’s regulatory body, and are listed in the Opticians Register. The letters FCOptom or MCOptom after an optometrist’s name means that he or she is a fellow or member of the College of Optometrists.
5. There are currently over 10,000 registered optometrists in the UK.