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’
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’
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’
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’
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’
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’
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’
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’
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’
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’
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’
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 Digest. He recommends using a silky material instead.
Next: A common myth about your nighttime routine
12. ‘You can read at night’
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’
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’
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’
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’
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’
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’
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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