Secrets Your Eye Doctor Will Never Tell You

Everyone expects doctors to be upfront and honest, and your eye doctor is no exception. But your optometrist is keeping a few secrets from you — things that affect the way you take care of your eyes. One decision involving your optometrist may be the worst you ever make (page 10).

1. ‘You’re getting my job title wrong’

an eye doctor fitting a woman for glasses

Yes, these are two different types of specialists. | Thinkstock

There is a difference between “optometrist” and “dispensing optician.”

“An optometrist is the person in the dark room who checks your vision and all the other things,” one optometrist explains to Buzzfeed. “A dispensing optician dispenses and fits glasses based on the prescriptions we write.”

Next: Optometrists aren’t exempt from nastiness.

2. ‘I make gross diagnoses just like other doctors’

Head lice crawl on a piece of paper.

Lice crawl on a piece of paper. | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Lice and other nasty stuff can grow on your eyelids and lashes.

Think lice can only thrive on your scalp? Think again. Optometrists occasionally spot head lice that have set up shop on your eyelashes and eyebrows. Although they’re not dangerous, lice are extremely contagious, easily attaching to the base of your eyelashes and laying eggs that quickly hatch.

Next: The big difference between clean and sterile

3. ‘My equipment has been washed, but not sterilized’

man getting an eye exam at the optometrist's office

All the tools optometrists use should be sterilized. | Source: iStock

The Medical Board of California sued a group of eye doctors who admitted their “protocol was to rinse and reuse a blade on up to four eyes,” according to Fox News. The board settled with the clinic, but not before patients who underwent laser surgery with the optometrists completed tests for Hepatitis B and C, as well as AIDs. The doctors were put on probation.

Next: A helpful hack for anyone with eye issues

4. ‘I use this hack for my eye drops’

Woman holding eye drops in her hand

Try keeping your eye drops in the refrigerator next time. | iStock.com/MichalLudwiczak

There’s a right and wrong way to store your eye drops.

Your optometrist may not share that info with you. “Eye drops (any kind) sting less if you keep them in the refrigerator,” Janice Jurkus, OD, tells Reader’s Digest.

Next: The nastiest stories about a certain eye issue

5. ‘I see crazy things with patients’ contacts’

Woman putting contact lenses in her eyes

You should never reuse your contact solution, but some people do anyway. | iStock.com/julief514

When your eye doctor tells you to take proper care of your contacts, they’re also secretly thinking about all the terrible things they’ve seen their patients do — everything from reusing contact solution to using tap water or saliva to clean them.

Next: Age-old advice that isn’t so true

6. ‘Carrots aren’t the best food for vision’

Fresh carrots arranged on a wooden background.

Dark leafy greens are even better for your vision than carrots. | iStock.com/Nataliia_Pyzhova

Other foods actually have more health benefits for your eyes.

Your eye doctor isn’t a nutritionist. But they do know eating your way to good eyesight goes beyond the belief that carrots are the best for your peepers. Sure, they’re not bad. But dark leafy greens are the big winner, as well as salmon, eggs, citrus, and berries.

Next: For eye doctors, it’s hard to separate personal and professional life.

7. ‘Outside the office I can’t help but stare at people with eye issues’

man rubbing his eyes while he works on a laptop

Man rubs eyes | iStock/Getty Images

If an optometrist sees someone who clearly has pink eye, it can be hard not to diagnose them. Same goes for spotting dry-eye syndrome, a stye, or a drooping eyelid, which can all signal bigger issues.

Next: Are you in denial about the age of your eyes?

8. ‘I know when you cheat on an eye exam’

woman getting an eye exam

Being truthful will help you way more in the long run. | iStock.com/cyano66

Your eye doctor may never admit it to you, but they know when you’re cheating on your eye exams. Keep in mind, the only person this hurts is yourself. Your eye doctor is there to help you, even if that means you have to start wearing glasses or restrict certain activities.

Next: Do not let your eye doctor bully you into this.

9. ‘I stretch the truth about needing surgery’

woman getting her eyes checked with a machine

Your doctor may recommend this procedure, but you don’t have to have it. | Denis_prof/iStock/Getty Images

As one optometrist tells Reader’s Digest some eye doctors will pressure you into getting cataract surgery. But really, there’s no harm in holding off on the procedure, especially if it creates a major financial burden. “Cataracts rarely hurt you — they just make it hard to see, like looking out of a dirty window,” says Robert Noecker, MD.

Next: The worst decision you could make concerning your eyes

10. ‘Skipping your annual eye appointment is a huge mistake’

woman using her phone in bed

Waiting to see the eye doctor is a bad move. | Tomwang112/iStock/Getty Images

Far too many people wait until there’s something wrong with their eyes to make an appointment. “Some blinding eye diseases have few warning signs before they’ve taken away your vision,” Paul Harris, OD, tells Reader’s Digest. “A yearly exam is the only way to catch things early.”

The people who should never skip an appointment: those who wear contact lenses. You can more easily develop corneal ulcers, eye infections, and other conditions when you wear contact lenses (they reduce oxygen flow to the cornea).

Next: There’s a right and wrong way to does this to your specs

11. ‘You likely damage your glasses without knowing it’

young businessman adjusting eyeglasses

Are you taking proper care of your glasses? | iStock.com/MangoStar_Studio

Keeping your glasses clean is a more intricate process than you think. In fact, using a piece of tissue to wipe them can be damaging. “Paper is made of wood, and it will scratch your lenses,” Robert Noecker, MD, tells Reader’s DigestHe recommends using a silky material instead.

Next: A common myth about your nighttime routine

12. ‘You can read at night’

man reading in bed next to a lamp for light

You might get a headache, but your eyes will go unaffected. | iStock.com

According to one expert, reading in the darker hours of the day isn’t as terrible for your eyes as you think. “Reading in dim light won’t hurt your eyes,” Eric Donnenfeld, MD tells Reader’s Digest. “The worst that might happen is that you get a headache.” Have eye doctors really been keeping this a secret for this long?

Next: You probably handle pink eye incorrectly. 

13. ‘You should rethink treatment for pink eye’

man with pink eye

Pink eye isn’t always a simple diagnosis. | iStock.com

Typically, pink eye is a bacterial problem that you can treat yourself with antibiotics. But what your eye doctor hasn’t told you is that pink eye can be caused by a virus, which can lead to light sensitivity and even loss of vision. If you experience pain in your eye and become extra sensitive to light because of pink eye, you should see a doctor immediately.

Next: Your optometrist is just as annoyed by this.

14. ‘The eye test annoys me, too’

Online eye test

An online eye test could show you issues from your home. | Source: Opternative.com

You know when your doctor makes you look through different lenses and you have to tell them which looks clearer? They think it’s just as annoying as you do. “Optometrist hell is basically asking this question for eternity and listening to the long, drawn-out, agonizing ‘errr’ of an indecisive patient,” Buzzfeed’s source says.

Next: It’s tempting to go online for this service.

15. ‘Don’t order your glasses online’

man wearing yellow glasses

Do yourself a favor and try your glasses on in person. | iStock.com/KovacsAlex

If you order glasses online without trying them on in-person, there is a strong chance something will go wrong. And your eye doctor is probably secretly cursing you for it. “We can’t wave a magic wand for you and sort out a problem that you’ve caused,” Buzzfeed’s source says.

Next: Your part-time sunnies are just as important.

16. ‘You’re wearing the wrong sunglasses’

Woman wearing a pair of round sunglasses

No matter what color your sunglasses are, make sure they protect you from UV rays. | iStock.com/Merlas

Surely you know dark sunglasses are meant to protect your eyes from UV rays. But as Dr. Justin Bazan tells Bustle, darker sunglasses aren’t necessarily safer. “Wearing sunglasses with dark lenses without adequate UV protection can actually be worse than wearing no sunglasses at all because they cause the eye’s pupil to dilate, which then increases retinal exposure to unfiltered UV light.”

Next: Don’t go to bed without resolving this issue.

17. ‘Stop sleeping in your contacts’

woman sleeping in a white bed

Sleeping in your contacts can lead to a serious infection. | Povozniuk/iStock/Getty Images

Your eye doctor has probably told you time and again not to sleep with your contacts in. But they may be hiding just how bad this habit can be. “Your chance of infection is 10 to 15 times greater if you sleep in them,” Brian Bonanni, MD, tells Reader’s Digest.

Next: This may sound like a good idea, but it’s far from it …

18. ‘Stop taking advice from the internet’

Senior working on computer

The internet certainly doesn’t always know best. | DragonImages/iStock/Getty Images

Really want to make your eye doctor angry? Walk into their office and talk about how you diagnosed your own eye ailment by looking it up in a Google search. To be fair, there’s nothing wrong with looking up your symptoms before consulting  with a professional. Just don’t walk into their office as if you know more than they do.

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