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21 myths about your eyes

Until the day comes when we can all jump into our time machines and travel back to confirm historical facts, we must rely on documentation and artifacts which have managed to withstand the tests of time. Although we can use these clues to piece together what we think really happened, we can still only guesstimate certain data to build a picture of the full truth.

So even after all our searching and fact finding, certain stories remain frayed around the edges; with exaggerations and imaginations running riot, events soon mutate into mythical tales that never truly existed.

This is why you can be forgiven for thinking that Edison invented the light bulb, or that Lady Godiva rode naked through the streets of Coventry on horseback. These common myths are just some of the examples of how stories can end up as fumbled fables.

Here is a compelling list of the 21 greatest myths that surround the human eye. Read on, and the next time your friends insist they know the truth, you can politely smile and advise them otherwise.

Television with a square background

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1. Square eyes

“You’ll get square eyes sitting that close to the screen!” While sitting too close to the television won’t actually make your eyes go square, or necessarily damage them, if you find this is a regular habit you may need to visit your optician.

Reading a book in the dark

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2. Reading in the dark

Reading in dim light won’t harm your eyes, but it can put strain on your eyes through slowing down the blink rate.

Cat with crossed eyes

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3. Crossing your eyes

Crossed eyes are a result of nerve damage, and not a defect you can get from moving your eyes into the crossed position for long periods, no matter how many times you pull a funny face.

Carrots

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4. Eating carrots

Unfortunately, no matter how many carrots you eat, you won’t be able to see in the dark. However, carrots do contain a large amount of vitamin A, which is great for helping to protect the cornea.

Man blowing his nose

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5. Sneezing with your eyes open

Closing your eyes is a natural reflex when you sneeze, although no one is quite sure why. But some people can actually sneeze with their eyes open! So, there’s no danger of your eyeballs popping out, thankfully.

Close up of eye

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6. Wearing your eyes out

Your eyes are designed to be used, and nothing will wear them out. Just as your nose won’t get bored of smelling, and your ears won’t grow tired of listening.

Pair of glasses on a table

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7. Wearing someone else’s glasses

Go ahead and try on as many of your friend’s glasses as you like: your eyes won’t be affected. But your friends might find it a bit annoying. If you have perfect vision, do try to avoid wearing extremely strong prescriptions for long periods, as they could potentially give you a nasty headache.

Blurry photo of city street

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8. Blind people live in total darkness

People who are legally blind are defined as failing to meet 20/200 vision, this means that blind people don’t see pure darkness. In fact, most will have some form of vision, but those who don’t simply see nothing at all.

Weights

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9. Eye exercises

Contrary to what many people think, eye exercises can’t improve your vision, although vision training can help against eye muscle problems such as eye misalignment, known as strabismus. However, no amount of eye aerobics will repair near or farsightedness. Sorry!

Surgical eye tools

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10. Eye transplants

Whole eye transplants might sound like a great idea, but unfortunately, they only exist in the dreams of Hollywood directors and in galaxies far, far, far away. We can do corneal transplants, however, which can help to restore people’s sight. Pretty cool, don’t you think?

Close up eye with makeup

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11. Corrective contacts only

Most people can wear contact lenses – not just those who have corrective issues. You will need to get the right measurements from an optometrist, but then you can jazz up your eyes with all the colours of the rainbow.

Child's eyes

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12. Contact lenses for children

Children can wear contact lenses. In fact, children as young as just 8 years old have been known to wear corrective lenses without any damage to their eyes. However, you should always consult your optician beforehand.

Holding up a pair of glasses

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13. Wearing glasses will make your eyes get worse

Wearing glasses won’t weaken your eyes or make you dependent on vision correction. They are simply vision aids to give you clearer, better sight.

Silhouette of couple cycling

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14. Too much ‘romance’ will make you go blind

This is a myth. We needn’t say any more about it!

20 20 vision t-shirt

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15. 20/20 vision

20/20 vision simply means you have good central vision, it doesn’t mean that you can see perfectly. There are other defining factors to be considered, such as peripheral awareness, eye co-ordination, colour vision, focusing ability and depth perception.

Paintbrushes

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16. Colour blindness

Being colour blind doesn’t mean you see in black and white, it just means that you can’t differentiate between certain colours. Difficulty distinguishing between red and green, or blue and yellow are the two most common problems.

Man squinting his eyes

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17. Squinting hurts your eyes

Squint until the cows come home if you really want to - it won’t affect your vision. However, if you find that you need to squint to see more clearly, you might need to visit your optician.

Woman holding a camera

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18. Cataracts only affect older people

50% of all 50-year-olds will develop cataracts later in their life; however, people of any age that suffer a blow to the eye or have diabetes can just as easily get cataracts.

Sun shining through breaking clouds

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19. Looking at the sun won’t damage your eyes

Looking directly into the sun without fully UV protected sunglasses will damage your eyes, as the intense light emitted by the sun damages the cells in the cornea. Practice safe sunbathing!

Laptop and succulent on desk

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20. Using computers will damage your eyes

Using a computer will not damage your eyesight. But using computers does slow down your blink rate and can result in dry eyes. For some top tips, read our article on how to avoid digital eye strain.

Close up of woman's eyes

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21. Your eyes never grow

Your eyes continue growing throughout your lifetime, starting out at about 18.5mm at birth and growing to approximately 25mm by the time you reach adulthood.

Enjoyed our 21 eye myths? Take a look at our 10 myths about contact lenses.