Is Eating Carrots Really Good for Your Eyes? Will Sitting too Close to the TV Ruin Them?

When it comes to your vision, it's important to know fact from fiction

SAN DIEGO, CALIF. (January 10th, 2018) - “Eat your carrots. They’ll improve your vision.”

“Don’t squint so often - you’ll ruin your eyes.”

“Don’t sit so close to the TV. You’ll end up with glasses.”

If those admonitions sound all too familiar, you’re not alone. We’ve all grown up getting plenty of advice about what was bad - or good - for our eyes. And most of us accepted it all as fact, one of the nation’s top ophthalmologists wants us to know that most of these vision facts are just pure fiction.

“Carrots are rich in Vitamin A, which is important to overall eye health,” says Sandy T. Feldman, MD, the Medical Director of Clearview Eye & Laser Medical Center in San Diego. “However, eating carrots will not improve your vision. In fact, carrots aren’t even as beneficial to your eyes as green leafy vegetables such as collard greens, broccoli or kale.”

What about squinting your eyes, sitting too close to the TV, or reading in the dark?

“If you find yourself squinting more and more to put things in focus, it probably means you need glasses,” says Feldman. “But it certainly won’t make your vision worse. As far as sitting too close to the television or reading in low light, any adverse effect like dry, itchy eyes would be only temporary. For children, however, too much near work without looking far away periodically can affect nearsightedness.”

It has been said that wearing glasses too much will cause vision to deteriorate. True?

“Absolutely false,” reports Dr. Feldman. “Wearing glasses, or wearing contacts for that matter, simply helps you see better. There is no relationship between the length of time you wear prescriptive lenses and the strength of your prescription.”

Are there any of these age-old eye maxims that aren’t fiction?

“If you’ve been told to never sleep with your contacts in, you received sound advice,” says Feldman. “You can possibly cause enough damage to your corneas that you won’t be able to wear contacts again. However, there are some contact lenses that can be worn while sleeping, but it’s important to follow your doctor’s and lens manufacturer’s recommendations.”

Told that rubbing your eyes isn’t a good idea? That’s not a myth, either.

“Rubbing your eyes - especially without washing your hands first - exposes them to a host of dangerous bacteria and micro-organisms that can lead to serious eye infections,” reports Dr. Feldman. “And if you’re rubbing them because they’re constantly itchy and irritated, it might be a good idea to see your eye doctor to determine the cause. Rubbing eyes can also make a corneal weakening disorder worse.”

Any other truisms when it comes to harming your eyes? Dr. Feldman says there many more.

“Anything you’ve heard about the importance of wearing sunglasses when outdoors is definitely true. Also, it’s always dangerous to clean contacts with tap water or even saliva. Finally, I don’t recommend that anyone swim in a pool without wearing a good pair of swimming goggles. The exposure to chemicals like chlorine and all the potential pollutants in that water can be very harmful to your eyes.”

On a positive note, Dr. Feldman has good news for those with the “skill” to cross their eyes at will.

“Be my guest,” says Feldman. “Regardless of what mom said, they won’t stay that way.”

About Sandy T. Feldman, MD
Sandy T. Feldman, MD is the Medical Director of Clearview Eye & Laser Medical Center - voted best LASIK center in San Diego by the San Diego Union Tribune 2016/2017 and CityBeat Magazine for the second year in a row. She has successfully performed more than 20,000 refractive procedures. Her numerous awards include “Top Doc San Diego” and the Goldline Award, an honor granted to only 10 laser eye care providers in the U.S. each year, and she has been profiled in Forbes, Newsweek, and other respected publications. Dr. Feldman is a fellow of the prestigious American College of Ophthalmic Surgeons, as well as a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. For more information, please visit clearvieweyes.com.