Welcome to the Better Vision blog where you’ll find information and tips on how to care for your eyes and improve your vision without glasses, contacts, drugs, or surgery.

This is the third post of a 5 segment series entitled Myths Behind Bad Eyesight. Click here to read the first post.
Please visit us each month for new posts about eyes, vision, and how to see better.

Myths Behind Bad Eyesight: Part 3

Previously we posted about the five common misconceptions that lead people to think that eyesight cannot be improved:

1. Poor vision is inherited.
2. Vision inevitably deteriorates with age.
3. Poor vision is caused by certain visual activities.
4. Weak eye muscles cause poor vision.
5. Seeing is solely a physical, mechanical process.

Let’s examine myth #3 in greater detail.

(This information applies to functional vision problems - nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, eye imbalances, lazy eye, etc. Click here for information on cataracts, and here for macular degeneration.)

3. Poor vision is caused by certain visual activities

The third misconception is that poor vision is caused by what you do with your eyes: If you read too much, or use a computer, or watch too much TV, it will ruin your eyes.

And statistics seem to point in that direction:

Only 2% of students in the fourth grade are nearsighted; in the 8th grade, about 10% to 20% are; by the end of college between 50% and 70% of the students are nearsighted. Thus, it would seem that the more you read or study, the more likely it would be that you would become nearsighted.

But it is not because of the activity. It is because of how the eyes are used when performing the activity. And nobody is ever taught how to properly use their eyes and how to protect the good vision that they were born with.

When people are taught how to properly use and rest their eyes, then vision problems are much less prevalent.

For example, in China, students and workers are taught simple eye exercises that they practice every day in school and at work. And the rate of nearsightedness (myopia) has decreased substantially.

Unfortunately, these techniques are not yet common practice everywhere. But there have been a handful of school systems that have incorporated these and other changes with just as promising results as in China.

Extended periods of study, reading and computer use place added nutritional demands on the eyes and the body which, if not adequately met, can also contribute to visual difficulties.

But, there is no question that it is the visual habits that are critical, not the visual activity. The real problem is a lack of education. Vision care principles need to become more widely known and accepted, and more widely practiced.

Someday, there will be such a shift in attitude. But you don’t have to wait. Right now you can do something good for your eyes and protect your eyesight by practicing the right way to use your eyes.