11 childhood eye care myths said by Singaporean mothers – Debunked

by Natalie Lim

Today, we’re here to debunk childhood eye care myths.

Even as adults, we’ve built our lives around old wives’ tales we’ve heard from our mothers. Be it superstitious beliefs such as pointing at the moon or dubious healthcare tips like drinking coke with salt for fevers, these are rules we unquestionably abide by. But truth be told — how many of these are actually true? 

If you’ve been a computer addict or perhaps, have a child that’s constantly sitting too close to the TV, this article will shed some light on whether you’ve something to worry about.

Debunking eye care myths

Reading in the dark will weaken your eyes

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Whether you were secretly staying up past bedtime to finish up overdue homework or hiding under the blankets to read the final chapter of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, our mothers have always chided us on the dangers of reading in the dark — lest we go blind.

However, this is an eye care myth as reading under dim lights will not cause a decline in vision, but it does lead to eye strain and tired eyes. So while the mother could be a tad extreme, she means well.

Staring at a computer screen all day will damage your eyes 

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Dance battles on AuditionSEA, partying up with our friends on MapleStory for dungeon quests, or simply enjoying Neopets, these were the childhood days that got us glued to the computer screen. In an attempt to persuade us away from these games, our mothers have told us that using the computer too much will damage our eyes.

This is an eye care myth as staring at a screen all day will not permanently damage the eyes, However, it does contribute to eye discomfort, headaches and dry or watering eyes. To avoid these symptoms, adjust the lighting so that it does not create a glare or harsh reflection on the screen.

Sitting too close to the TV will hurt your eyes 

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All mothers can relate to this. Sometimes, it’s just so difficult to pry your children away from the TV, and they make the job more strenuous than it should be by sitting wayyyy too close to the screen. If you’re panicking because of this eye care myth, fret not.

There is no evidence that sitting too close to the TV can damage children’s eyes, and compared to adults, children can focus up close much better without eye strain. However, it is important to understand the difference between cause and effect. If your kid is constantly shifting forward to the TV, it may be an indication that he/she is already nearsighted. 

Wearing someone else’s glasses can weaken your eyesight 

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It’s safe to say that most of us have probably worn someone else’s glasses at least once in our lives. Be it trying it out for fun or wanting to see if certain spectacles look good on you, we’ve often heard that doing so could damage our eyesight.

This is an eye care myth as it will not harm your eyes. But, it does cause headaches and dizziness, since the wrong prescription confuses the message sent to your brain. Your retina sees an image that is out of focus, blurry, and distorted, so both your eyes and brain have to work harder, which causes eye strain and discomfort. 

It is okay to swim while wearing contact lenses 

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Understandably, it’s inconvenient to swim when you have to wear glasses. To tackle this, some of us would wear contact lenses to the pool, since they provide visibility and allow us to see as per normal. 

Many are unaware that swimming while wearing your contacts can be particularly dangerous due to prolonged exposure. Even in chlorinated water, dangerous bacteria and other organisms can thrive. If you open your eyes underwater while wearing contacts, these can squeeze behind your lenses and infect your eye.

Eyes can be transplanted 

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There are a handful of movies out there that feature eye operations. Whether the transplant is a touching gesture or a horrific story leaves room for debate, but it’s a common eye care myth to think that the entire eye is transplanted.

It is not possible to transplant a whole eye because the organ is connected to your brain by the optic nerve. Made up of more than 1 million nerve fibres, these nerve fibres cannot be reconnected once cut. Instead, ophthalmologists can transplant the cornea, which is the clear front part of your eye.

You can improve your vision with eye exercises 

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We’ve all been through some sort of mandatory eye exercise in the classroom with the notion of improving our eyesight. While these breaks were perfect for giving us some much-needed shut-eye, eye exercises do not improve or preserve vision. Your vision depends on many factors, none of which can be significantly altered with eye exercises.

Eating carrots can improve your vision 

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This saying holds some truth. Carrots hold a high amount of Vitamin A that’s essential for our bodies to maintain healthy eyesight and improve our vision. However, this has to be done under certain conditions.

Carrots have a high amount of beta-carotene, a compound used by our bodies to make Vitamin A. Vitamin A helps the eye convert light into a signal that can be transmitted to the brain, allowing people to see under conditions of low light — but it is still unclear how much carrots one has to eat to improve their night vision. 

Eyesight is inherited

Many things run in families. Be it charming blue eyes, sharp noses or even a hot temper, the wonderful world of genetics knows no boundaries. Nearsightedness and farsightedness do have a strong genetic basis, so if your parents have myopia, you’re like to develop it as well.

However, other factors such as environmental influences and bad habits do contribute to eye issues, and poor vision is more complex than it seems. Instead of outright blaming your parents, it’s better to keep healthy lifestyle habits and prevent eye problems from developing earlier.

All eye doctors are the same 

Be it itchy dry eyes, infections or blurry vision, Singaporeans would visit the nearest clinic or optometrist to get their problems sorted. What many are unaware of is that the levels of training and expertise differ for each doctor, and ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians each play an important role in eye care.

An optician prepares, measures and adapts the fit of eyeglass or contact prescriptions, while an optometrist is licensed to do eye exams and vision tests. If you’re looking to improve your vision via Lasik, ophthalmologists are the only eye care providers worldwide who are licensed to practice both medicine and surgery.

Myopia cannot be cured

Myopia is a refractive error that allows individuals to see objects up close, while distant objects appear blurry and out of focus. While it cannot be cured, some treatments can help restore distance vision

One of these treatments is Lasik, a laser eye surgery for the correction of myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism.

Lasik in Singapore

Since Lasik removes the dependence on contact lenses and spectacles, it’s becoming an increasingly popular way of improving your eyesight. But before jumping the gun, it’s important to know all about the procedure and what you’re signing up for.

In Singapore, some professionals are trained in ophthalmic and optometric eye care, providing you with services such as Lasik, retina services and eye treatments, along with information that you’ll need. 

Tests and consultation

You may be excited to get 20/20 vision, but some people do not qualify for Lasik procedures. Lasik is a refractive surgery that is conducted on the cornea, a delicate part of the eye. While refractive surgeries are safe and uncomplicated, it is advised that people who are pregnant, have Keratoconus (cone-shaped cornea), other complicating eye diseases, or especially thin corneas should not do Lasik.

To determine if you qualify for the procedure, you will have to go through a preliminary examination with a doctor. The assessment examines your visual system, with particular attention to issues that could affect the surgery’s outcome or complications.

Test results will then allow the counselor to advise you on your options and next course of action. 

Unknown to many, there are many types of refractive surgeries available. Your test results will deem the most optimal surgery for you, and the operation will be done by experienced surgeons and state-of-the-art technology. 

Based on research, Eagle Eye Centre is one of the recommended eye centres in Singapore for Lasik/ refractive surgeries. Established in 2006, it is the first eye clinic to integrate ophthalmic and optometric eye care under one roof and is equipped with the latest knowledge and technology. Even my boss went there for his Lasik treatment! 

At Eagle Eye Centre, four types of refractive surgeries can be performed — ReLEx SMILE (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction), Bladeless Lasik, Epi-Lasik and Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL) Surgery. 

These are chosen according to your eye condition, cornea thickness and risk evaluation. 

Lasik procedure

Photo: @drlynnyeo/instagram

Before the surgery, numbing eye drops will be applied. To prevent you from blinking, a speculum will be put around your eyes to keep your eyelids open for the surgery. Most people have the misconception that they’ll be able to “see” the operation being done, but this is not true. 

The laser is painless and invisible, and a laser keratome is used to flatten the cornea with a clear plastic plate. Your vision will dim and this is where you may feel some discomfort. However, Lasik surgeries are often painless, so keep this in mind if you get cold feet!

During the surgery, you’ll be asked to stare at a light to help keep your eyes focused on one spot. The laser will create a corneal flap, allowing the surgeon to fold the flap back, and remove some corneal tissue using an excimer laser. The flap is then laid back in place. When the cornea is reshaped, it focuses light directly onto the retina, providing clearer vision.

Lasik aftercare

You will normally experience dryness, soreness or blurry vision after your surgery for the next three to five days. However, most patients go through a fast recovery and regain functional vision within five days. Painkillers and eye drops will also be provided, so there’s no need to visit another drugstore.

To ensure that all patients are treated with top-notch service and are free of complications, Eagle Eye Centre provides scheduled reviews with your doctor one day, one week and one month after the surgery. 

There’s also the Eagle Eye Centre Lifetime Care plan offered to refractive surgery patients, providing a variety of benefits to patients under their care. 

Eagle Eye Centre for Lasik surgeries

If reading this article has convinced you on getting Lasik done, Eagle Eye Centre would be the place to go. With a total of seven branches in Singapore, their eye doctors provide exceptionally comprehensive eye care service and will be able to guide you through this intimidating yet exciting journey. 

For more information, head down to one of their branches for a consultation. Or, visit their website here.

Eagle Eye Centre
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I leave the office at 6PM on the . to rush home and play games. My boss has no control over me!!

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