Myopia, according to Sunnyvale optometrist Dr. Jeffery Holbert, is a subject of a lot of misunderstanding. Nearsightedness — the common term for myopia — has a number of myths that need exploding. Here we go!
Myth: Myopia Is Your Fault
It’s oh-so-common for people to assume that you’re myopic because you sit at a cubicle in front of a screen for 6 or more hours a day, often for at least two in a stretch. Clearly, if you’re only ever looking 18 inches in front of your face, your eyes adapt to that…right? Not true. The fact is that while nearsightness is affected by the way you use your eyes, it’s at least as much genetic and epigenetic as it is environmental. It’s very possible to be myopic without sitting in front of a screen all day.
Myth: Special Glasses can Prevent Myopia
For whatever reason, it was a pretty common belief a few decades ago that pinhole glasses or bifocals could prevent someone from becoming nearsighted. More recent and thorough research has proven that while there is a small subset of the population who can in fact slow down myopia significantly using bifocals, it’s far from everyone. Pinhole glasses…just don’t work.
Myth: Using Glasses or Contacts Worsens Myopia over Time
Myopia doesn’t get worse because you wear glasses to correct it — provided that those glasses work. If you have glasses that aren’t quite the right prescription, they can in fact make someone mildly nearsighted get worse a little bit faster, but if you see perfectly with your glasses, they won’t hurt. (This is why, at Holbert & Associates Optometrists in Sunnyvale, we request that you come in yearly to see if your prescription needs updating.)
Myth: Myopia Only Ever Gets Worse
While it’s a new and exciting area of research, scientists have recently discovered that certain kinds of gas-permeable rigid contact lenses are significantly more effective than glasses at keeping myopia from progressing. The mechanism is thought to be that the rigidity of the lenses prevents the eye from deforming further as time goes by.
If you or a loved one is having trouble seeing the world at more than arm’s length, give them the gift of sight — bring them in to your optometrist and talk to them about nearsightedness today!