More Eye "Myths" & a Little Soapboxing

Ok all over the net you'll read "eye myths" like:

sitting close to the tv makes your vision bad
carrots reduce the need for glasses
marijuana cures glaucoma

etc etc etc. Those myths are debunked on everyone's page/blog, mine included. But here are some eye myths you may not have read before:

1) "patching" DOES NOT "strengthen eye muscles" or un-cross a crossed eye. I don't know how many times I've read this answer given by people on Yahoo Answers & elsewhere on the net. IT IS NOT TRUE. Not one time in the history of mankind has wearing a patch "strengthened an eye muscle" or helped a crossed (esotropic) eye be straight. That's impossible. Patching does ONE THING & ONE THING ONLY: it can increase the acuity of an amblyopic eye by patching the GOOD eye and forcing the patient to "use" (stop suppressing) the amblyopic eye. THAT'S IT. Patching doesn't "strengthen" anything.

2) not every pink eye is "pink eye". Ok here's my pink eye soapbox:

- sleeping in your contacts & waking up with a red eye is not "pink eye"
- viral keratitis is not treated with antibiotics (AHEM, primary care providers & pediatricians)
- NO ONE can diagnose "pink eye" based on the symptoms. Its impossible. Someone has to look. You can tell me bacterial pink eye is "goopier" or viral pink eye is "watery" or allergic pink eye is yellow discharge vs the green discharge of bacterial pink eye etc etc etc yadda yadda yadda til you're blue in the face. I am telling you that the symptoms don't usually match up "perfectly" with any one diagnosis. All "pink eyes" LOOK the same & feel similar until I examine your cornea with a slit lamp. It makes me laugh when someone says "I know this is not pink eye b/c I had pink eye before & it was blurrier than this", etc. No. Sorry. You don't know if it is or is not pink eye unless some qualified person (i.e. optometrist) looks. School nurse, pediatrician, etc does not count.
- viral "pink eye" (epidemic keratoconjunctivitis) has a latent period of about a week (8 days is what the studies show). So you "have" it way before you show symptoms, and you are exposing your friends coworkers to it a full week before you show symptoms. SO: sending kids home from school & adults home from work for having pink eye is totally worthless. By the time you send someone home they've already exposed everyone they're going to expose. Pointless to send these people home IMO
- do not pressure patch an eye with any form of "pink eye". pressure patching is an old school treatment for a CORNEAL ABRASION.
- throwing away ALL of your makeup when you get diagnosed with pink eye is total overkill. The only people who suggest doing this are primary care providers, and as I suggest above, they probably don't know what you have anyway
- "pink eye" is listed as one of the top reasons people see a doctor. Well that's not surprising b/c if you go to your PCP or the ER with a red eye, you're going to get diagnosed with either "pink eye" or "a scratch" b/c that's the only 2 red eye diagnoses those people know. A *WHOLE BUNCH* of people diagnosed with "pink eye" by their PCP or the ER *do not* have "pink eye". If your eye is red, go to your optometrist or ophthalmologist. The ER doesn't know what you have.
- a cold does not "settle" in your eye & cause pink eye
- no form of "pink eye" is emergent. In fact, viral & bacterial pink eye are both self resolving! The problem, of course, is that some eye conditions which mimic the symptoms of "pink eye" ARE emergent. Actual "pink eye" is NO BIG DEAL. People act like its the plague & uber contagious. Not one time in 11 years have I contracted any form of pink eye from a patient (or anyone else for that matter)

3) NOTHING reduces myopia. NOTHING. Not carrots, eye exercises, supplements, herbs, spices, foods, leafy green vegetables, ginko biloba, St John's wort, bilberry, palming, patching, eye drops, "weak" glasses, wearing glasses, not wearing glasses, plus lenses, bifocals, fish oil, Bates Method, See Clearly Method, "resting" your eyes, "concentrating on black", pinholes, vitamins, lutein, vitamin A, N-O-T-H-I-N-G. Glasses, contacts, LASIK, ortho-k. That's it. No "natural" way to reduce myopia. If this existed in medicine I think we'd be on board by now, and the World Health organization wouldn't have "myopia" listed at the top of their concerns

4) there is a prominent website which I will not name that flat out directly states that ALL OPTOMETRISTS WORLDWIDE are *ALL* secretly involved in a VAST conspiracy to over-prescribe myopes in order to PURPOSELY make them more myopic so that we can sell them more & stronger glasses & get rich. I'm not kidding you this statement exists out there on the net, & it won't even take you very long to find it. That is the most ridiculous statement I have ever heard of. What a bunch of quacks.

5) blue filters & overlays are totally worthless & Scotopic Sensitivity is a bunch of bunk ("IMO", btw so I can't get in too much trouble heheh)

6) I read everywhere that infants are "born with" adult-sized eyes. What? No. Ok I'll admit they're born with eyes that are larger proportionately AND that they're eyes are "ALMOST" adult sized, but factually corneas increase in diameter over time and myopes eyes get longer axially if they're going through juvenile myopia progression. Making a blanket statement like "all infants are born with adult sized eyes" is a gross oversimplification.

7) I also read everywhere that "all infants are born with blue eyes". What? No. Plenty are born with all kinds of colors. Ok all infants have blue eyes at some point in their development in the womb: YES. But "all are born with blue eyes": NO. False.

So there! Bet you haven't read those "eye myths" before, have ya?


  1. Cute puppy in the pic.

    About #7 - I've heard that but only pertaining to caucasian babies... specifically, "All caucasian babies' eyes will be blue for the first 6 months but then will change to their natural color." So, still false?

  2. eh, debatable. more true than the blanket statement of "all" infants...

  3. and the puppy - she's about 10 weeks old now and has almost DOUBLED in size since that photo was taken at 6 weeks of age! so in 4 weeks she's nearly doubled in size! CRAZY!

  4. I just had a patient this morning ask me why I wasn't recommending "patching" for her 30 prism diopter exotropic eye to try & "strengthen the muscles" and make it point the right direction. she went on to tell me in gory detail how her neighbor's son did this & it "fixed" his lazy eye. I had to explain to her that patching does not "strengthen" anything nor does it "straighten" anything, despite what you've heard or what you believe. that does not exist. so much bad info out there...

  5. Well, my friend is one of the few people who have got their Myopia corrected with Ayurveda. I don't mean to demean any other form of treatment, but without the right information it is not right to rule out the possible alternative treatments and mislead people. If you have undergone a treatment and have not been sucessful, you can definitely go ahead and comment but not otherwise.

  6. Rajesh: thats anecdotal "evidence", and bad evidence at that. I have the "right" information & I can tell you that no one has ever had any eye problem including myopia "corrected" with "Ayurveda". That did not happen. thats anecdotal evidence. do you know what anecdotal evidence is? I'll give you an example:

    "yesterday I cracked my knuckles and now I can run faster than I could before."

    do you think that really happened? well I don't think your froend cured his myopia with "Ayurveda. hows that?


    this is my blog and I can pretty much comment on anything I want to comment on, any time I want to do it. you nor anyone else can tell me what I can or cannot comment on.

  7. Is there even a one percent chance that -2 myopia be cured by regularly doing eye exercise or yoga for a five year old kid.

  8. kalpana: if you're asking *ME* is there even 1% chance that -2 myopia can be cured by doing exercises or yoga...*MY* answer is:

    no. not even 1% chance.

  9. Is paragraph 3 equally true for presbyopia?

  10. "Is paragraph 3 equally true for presbyopia?"

    unfortunately, yes.

  11. What would say to someone that has only one watery eye, that isn't pink/red, and that sometimes has a slight white crust upon waking? This has been going on for about a week now. I don't wear contacts and I am not sure if it would be allergies or pink eye.

    Thank you.

  12. don't know w/o looking but...sounds like allergies. "pink eye" makes your eye red. you just stated that your eye is not pink/red, so...probably not "pink eye"

  13. So then it is possible to have an allergy in just one eye? Doesn't seem contagious since I keep using the same mascara, etc and still only the one eye is affected. What would be the best thing to try and clear it up? An allergy eye drop with something like ketotifen, another type of allergy drops, o.t.c. allergy medicine or all of the above?

    Thank you again

  14. sure try ketoifen fumarate (alaway, zaditor, zyrtec, etc). yes an "allergy" could affect 1 eye more than the other. we don't KNOW this is allergy, but it doesn't hurt to try anti-allergy eye drops


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