Saturday, June 12, 2010

Common Eye Myths

We've all been told as children at one point or another, "Don't cross your eyes or they'll stay that way," or that sitting too close to the TV is bad for our eyes. But are these childhood no-no's truths or fallacies? Are these just fictitious facts that started due to parents being annoyed by their kids or did some pediatrician back in the day use the urban legends as a means to diagnose adolescent problems?

According to Dr. Eugene R. Folk, former co-director of the Pediatric Ophthalmology Clinic at the University of Illinois, crossing one's eyes is not damaging at all. Strabismus, the scientific name for this condition, is usually something that happens at birth or as the result of an eye or head injury. If the small muscles that control eye movement are affected, this can cause eyes to become misaligned. So next time your mother tells you to stop crossing your eyes, she's probably just annoyed or creeped out.

As far as sitting too close to the TV is concerned, this myth can be put to rest as well. There has been no real evidence concluding that when you sit too close to the television it's bad for your eyes. The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that children have an easier time being able to see up close without eyestrain than do adults which is why you can often find kids with their books to their noses, and older folks with their reading material being held in a different room to see it. You can now remember these tall tales as you have children and it's up to you whether or not you want to continue the false rumors!


  1. I found this post interesting because I was always told as a child as well to not sit too close to the television as it was bad for my eyes. I actually always wondered if that was true even as I got older. Good to know its not.

  2. Interesting Post. I remember being yelled at as a child for sitting too close to the television set. This is just yet another of the plethera of instances where my mother was wrong. Thank you.

  3. i enjoyed this post. I always believed that sitting to "close" to a tv was nothing more then a myth, but i must admitt i was under the belief that crossing your eyes was bad for your vision. Thanks for the knowledge.