Dr. William Boothe Sheds Light on Common Eye Myths


The Wall Street Journal recently published an article debunking—and proving—several myths regarding the eyes. Dr. William Boothe weighs in on this important conversation, as he believes that proper eye health can only be achieved if individuals understand how their eyes work, and how to take care of them.

The article considers the validity of several different eye myths, including whether or not carrots can improve nighttime vision, the eyes can reveal when someone is lying, the sun can harm the eyes, reading without proper lighting is hazardous, and watching television too close to the set can be damaging.

Of these myths, two are proven false. Reading in low light will not harm an individual's ability to see, although it is "not ideal." Additionally, an individual will not develop square eyes by sitting too close to the television set; however, the article notes that watching too much television can cause eye strain and fatigue.

The other myths, as outrageous as some of them may sound, were actually upheld.

"People are always surprised when I tell them that carrots can, indeed, improve vision in poor light," comments Dr. William Boothe. "Of course, this particular benefit has its limits. Eating an excessive amount of carrots will not result in superhuman night vision. But individuals can actually experience a deterioration of their ability to see at night if they don't eat enough carrots."

Dr. Boothe reports that Vitamin A, one of the essential vitamins in carrots, can also prevent the need for glasses or contact lenses. He also explains the more mysterious of the myths that actually holds true—that a lie can be detected by observing a person's eyes.

"This has to do more with psychology and behavior than biology," asserts Dr. Boothe, "but it is true that people are less likely to look you in the eye if they are lying. Additionally, they may be inclined to look to the side. The reasons behind this are not yet clear, but it certainly has to do with human behavior."

Dr. Boothe also corroborates the assertion that looking directly at the sun can cause damage to one's vision. He explains that eyes can suffer from sunburn and other damage if they are focused on the sun directly.