13 Secrets Your Eye Doctor Won’t Tell You

The experts weigh in on the best way to care for your eyes.

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Most people know that UV radiation can damage skin,

Most people know that UV radiation can damage skin,
but they don't realize it's also bad for eyes. You wear your sunglasses only when it's sunny? That's like saying 'I only smoke sometimes.' Wear sunglasses big enough to block the light from above and below—they should have thick sides or wrap around. If you wear contacts, ask for UV coating.—Stephen Cohen, OD, past president of the Arizona Optometric Association

Despite what generations of parents have told their kids,

Despite what generations of parents have told their kids,
carrots aren't the best food for your eyes. That honor goes to spinach, kale, and other dark, leafy veggies.—Andrea Thau, OD, associate clinical professor at the SUNY College of Optometry

Polarized sunglasses are great at reducing glare,

Polarized sunglasses are great at reducing glare,
but they can make it difficult to see the LCD on your cell phone or navigation system. It's harder to see an ATM screen when you've got polarized sunglasses on too.—Janice Jurkus, OD

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Eyedrops (any kind) sting less

Eyedrops (any kind) sting less
if you keep them in the refrigerator.—Janice Jurkus, OD

Reading in dim light won't hurt your eyes.

Reading in dim light won't hurt your eyes.
The worst that might happen is that you get a headache.—Eric Donnenfeld, MD

Don't just grab any old bottle of eyedrops out of your medicine cabinet

Don't just grab any old bottle of eyedrops out of your medicine cabinet
when a new problem comes up. If you have an infection, steroid drops might make the redness look better, but the infection could get worse. I've had to remove people's eyes because of that.—Brian Bonanni, MD, an ophthalmologist at Gotham LASIK, New York City

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Pinkeye isn't always benign:

Pinkeye isn't always benign:
a number of patients end up with light sensitivity and even vision loss. But many physicians treat it with antibiotics that won't help if the cause is a virus. We do a rapid test for adenovirus—if that's what you have, we treat it very differently than if your pinkeye is bacterial.—Robert Sambursky, MD, an ophthalmologist in Sarasota, Florida

No, it's not okay to wait for symptoms to appear.

No, it's not okay to wait for symptoms to appear.
Some blinding eye diseases have few warning signs before they've taken away your vision. A yearly exam is the only way to catch things early.—Paul Harris, OD

Take extended-wear contacts out before bed.

Take extended-wear contacts out before bed.
Your chance of infection is 10 to 15 times greater if you sleep in them.—Brian Bonanni, MD

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Never use tissues or toilet paper to clean your eyeglasses.

Never use tissues or toilet paper to clean your eyeglasses.
Paper is made of wood, and it will scratch your lenses. I like to use my tie because it's silk and really smooth.—Robert Noecker, MD

Many of you seem to think you can go on with life as normal immediately after I dilate your eyes,

Many of you seem to think you can go on with life as normal immediately after I dilate your eyes,
but it'll be two or three hours before you can do anything that requires concentrated visual attention. Sometimes people get irritated that they can't read a 12-page document.—Paul Harris, OD, associate professor at the Southern College of Optometry, Memphis

Some doctors pressure patients to have cataract surgery right away,

Some doctors pressure patients to have cataract surgery right away,
but if it creates financial problems for you, there's usually no harm in waiting. Cataracts rarely hurt you—they just make it hard to see, like looking out of a dirty window.—Robert Noecker, MD

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If you're over 60 and considering LASIK,

If you're over 60 and considering LASIK,
wait until you develop a cataract. Then we can fix your vision as part of the cataract surgery, and your insurance will be more likely to pay for it.—Robert Noecker, MD

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62 thoughts on “13 Secrets Your Eye Doctor Won’t Tell You

  1. hilarious! i saw (in summary) ‘dont use abrasive materials to clean your glasses’ and ‘polarized sunglasses make it ahrd to see IMs on your phone” and then told me to subscribe if i wanted to keep reading. it was difficult to refrain. i can, however, think of an actual thing your eye doctor probably won’t tell you about… pinhole glasses.

  2. After reading this article I think we know all these but we do not take care of these. 1st point is very common. Yes you should not use tissues or toilet paper to clean your eyeglasses. Paper is made of wood, and it will scratch your lenses. We must eat enough portions, vitamins for our eyes.

  3. I need help Cuz my eyes are quite blurry sometimes when I look at things in the distance it’s all blurry and I can’t see be cause my eyes won’t let me and I am going to the opticians next week but I want to wear glasses all the time so Evan if I have to wear them all the time yaaaaaay ( I’ve wanted glasses forages )

  4. I so tired of these doctors putting on the scare tactics to scare me into having the surgery. My brother in law had the surgery six months. He had an infection behind his eye and pain in the eye. He is constantly holding an ice pack on his eye. My cousin said she is sorry that she did it a year ago and she cannot see that great and has to wear eyeglasses. I thought they said in the advertisement that you will not need eyeglasses after the surgery. I can see close up but having problems with the distance. What can I do and who can I trust. Every doctor I have gone to immediately when I say cataract they want to cut. I can see, maybe not good on the distance, but I feel this can be corrected. Help in New Orleans.
    tropical06

    1. I feel your pain. You should start recording your visits with eye doctors if possible. I’ve never done it, but a co-worker of mine records all her doctors visits on her cell phone. What a novel idea, because they are liars and cheaters of health/quality of life! Keep going to different doctors until you find someone who is transparent, and best of luck.

  5. I take issue with this article. I work for 3 Eye Doctors (2 ophthalmologists and one optometrist) and we discuss ALL of these things with our patients. You make it sound like eye doctors are intentionally negligent. I’m sure there area few that are like this, but the vast majority of eye doctors are very free with this information.

    1. I have been told by every opthalmologist and optometrist that cataracts are never a big deal and they are just not revealed to the patient so as not to worry them, this has been confirmed by the head of my state Optometry Board. You do work for professionals who are OFTEN negligent!

  6. This may sound crazy..but think of this…When you have no sunglasses you close your eyes and open them as small as possible,….but when you have glasses on you open them as wide, forgetting about the harmful rays that the glasses just don’t protect you from..They just don’t. i’m not so sure sun glasses are what they are cracked up to be…They leave your eyes unknowing open and relaxed, when our natural instinct is to shut them and squint…..

  7. What sort of eye care professional would NOT give these tips? ‘don’t sleep in your contact lenses’ is CL hygiene 101!!

  8. my eye sight is week 0.25 plz tell me wot should i do to recover that

  9. My eyes both are itching like there’s sand on it and they become reddish when I smoke.

  10. 1. “Never use tissues or toilet paper to clean your eyeglasses. Paper is
    made of wood, and it will scratch your lenses. I like to use my tie
    because it’s silk and really smooth.”
    — Robert Noecker, MD

    yes, i am sure your tie would be fine to smear dirt and grease around my glasses.

    no thanks robert noecker, i would sooner use paper tissue than your dirty old tie.

    next time try recommending something better than your tie.

    ( they make cleaning cloths for that very thing )

  11. Some great tips there especially regarding dilating eyes as peoples vision is very blurry for a while so it’s hard to get back to doing things straight after.

  12. Please realize however, that some eye drops cannot be refridgerated. Know if yours can before doing so.

  13. “Sometimes people get irritated that they can’t read a 12-page document.”-
    Too funny!

  14. “Sometimes people get irritated that they can’t read a 12-page document.”-
    Too funny!

  15. thanks for the information,it was indeed educative.At least i have learn one or two things.

  16. Your webb pages are too slow and awkward to get to the info and why would any doctor with0ld it.

  17. How about a lens cleaning cloth? It is made to clean lenses! This aritcle is a terribly sad to read. I work with an extremely skilled and caring group of Opticians, technicians and a wonderful Optometrist who truly believes in helping people acheive their BEST vision and eye health. We make sure that our patients are educated about their eye health in addition to designing a prescription especially for them. We make them aware of benefits of well-made lenses (which are more expensive because they are made with the latest technology and therefore offer optimum sight correction) and make sure that the frame they choose is actually a frame that will enhance their appearance. I think there are definitely practices out there that leave much to be desired in the way of customer service and it is up to the consumer to find the best doctor for them. People…please do your research before hitting up one of the big chains just because it is less expensive. Also, watch out for online businesses selling glasses and contact lenses. These companies are not always operating legally and their focus is NOT on the health of your eyes or your best vision, it is on money. Sounds funny to say being that they are usually offering huge discounts and extremely cheap options on glasses/contacts, but they make their money in volume of sales. The more they push that your eye doctor is the bad guy, the better their sales. I am so troubled that Reader’s Digest would publish this article at all. There are great optometrists out there who truly do care about their patients and it is ridiculous to try to instill mistrust the industry as a whole. Shame on you Reader’s Digest. This is not helping people be empowered, it is simply misinformation. SHAME!

  18. Mahmood Ali Khan These are not actually secrets. But it is helpful to be reminded. Thanks

  19. Any way, it is kind to share this information. So it return to say thank you for the author.

  20. An optometrist found my cataracts when I was in my mid-50’s.  An opthalmologist said they were only incipient, and could wait a year or so.  I waited a little over a year. By that time the cataracts were very thick and brunescent (brownish.)  Another ophthalmologist said they were quite old. I must have had the “incipient” cataracts for a long time.  Not realizing how bad my vision was in dim light, I had been driving over yellow lines, etc., and could have had an accident.  After the first surgery I regained my color vision but not my visual acuity.  Twenty years later that eye is 20/200, but I had a better surgeon and a more successful surgery in the other eye.  I’m sure some doctors pressure patients too much, but the first opthalmologist I saw was too casual.  I should have gotten a second opinion. 

  21. As an eye doctor, I am very disappointed in the choice of the title of the article.  On a regular basis, I tell and remind my patients of these tips listed.  I feel that this article is going to make patients question the integrity of the Optometric profession.  

    1. Doc:  Give me some free advice LOL.  I was told to take a supplement because I have a genetic predisposition to Macular Degeneration.  The Dr. also said there was a certain type of supplement that I should not use because at one time I was a smoker and one type of supplement had been shown in studies to trigger lung cancer.  Are you familiar with this?

    2. I must pose this same question to you, sorry for the duplicate posts, but I would like an eye doctor to tell me that they do tell their patients when they see cataracts, and especially that they are supposed to, thanks:

      I take it you are a doctor then. Do you tell your patients if you detect cataracts? Most doctors don’t, not even opthalmologists. My state Optometry Board says it’s not really a disease so they don’t see any reason to reveal this to the patient/worry them. Seriously?!????!!!!

  22. And I prided myself on knowing some of this. Glad I read the article. Learned some things. Good job ! 

  23. I was hoping for more info on dry eyes.  The restasis isn’t helping as much as it did in the beginning.

  24. The reason Spinach and Kale are good for your eyes are that the provide Lutein and Zeaxanthin which protect the macula, where the sharp vision is concentrated. If you suffer macular degeneration, it is too late to reverse it by eating these alone. The best and most effective way is to get a supplement that is sprayed under your tongue, as it gives 10 times the absorption compared to tablets and does not get lost in the digestive tract.

  25. I’d like to add that eyeglasses can not cure your blurry eyesight (nearsighted, farsighted etc.) but there are some exercises to help and make them back to normal 20 20

    1. I’ve never come across an exercise that cures nearsightedness, farsightedness, etc. These have to do with the shape and size of the eye. No exercise can change that. Only glasses, contacts, or laser vision correction can help with that

  26. Good info, but I think something would be amiss if an eye doctor didn’t inform a patient of these points. The title is really stupid.

  27. I like these articles, but I don’t understand why they’re presented as “secrets they won’t tell you” like they’re trying to cheat you or something. Are they really SECRETS anyhow? How about just calling then “13 interesting facts about eye care”.

    1. Yes, they are trying to cheat you (out of your health) because most doctors don’t believe in prevention and are just waiting for you to get sick so they can profit from kickbacks from drug companies for the meds they hope to prescribe and the surgeries they hope to perform.

  28. I like these articles, but I don’t understand why they’re presented as “secrets they won’t tell you” like they’re trying to cheat you or something. Are they really SECRETS anyhow? How about just calling then “13 interesting facts about eye care”.

  29. This reads more as “13 things your eye doctor will tell you”! One thing I found out they DON’T Tell you…those glasses that darken in the sun are great for being out in the sun…but get in a car and you need sunglasses because they will clear up!!!

    1. As a Licensed Optician, I feel it is my responsibility to tell patients all the things this article lists, but also the misnomer about Transitions lenses. They are NOT a substitute for sunglasses! Even the brochures we receive from the company state this. All states do no require Opticians to be licensed. Those places are where you don’t get the information you need to make an informed decision. You can flip hamburgers one day and fit people in glasses the next day.

      1.  Most people don’t know the difference between an Ophthalmologist, an Optometrist and an Optician. VERY important differences there! :-O

  30. These are definitely good things to be reminded about, however, I hardly believe their is any secret to any of them!

  31. I don’t see how these are considered secrets if I regularly cover all of these tips more than once over the course of a week with my patients.

    1. I must pose this same question to you, sorry for the duplicate posts, but I would like an eye doctor to tell me that they do tell their patients when they see cataracts, and especially that they are supposed to, thanks:

      I take it you are a doctor then. Do you tell your patients if you detect cataracts? Most doctors don’t, not even opthalmologists. My state Optometry Board says it’s not really a disease so they don’t see any reason to reveal this to the patient/worry them. Seriously?!????!!!!

  32. Thanks for the info on cataracts. I’ve been under some pressure for surgery for what seems to be an early stage,and now I know I can comfortable wait for the right time.

  33. I am not sure what doctors the writer of this article has been using, but after working with several eye doctors over ten years, we ALWAYS give our patients these tips.

      1. If you’ve been unlucky enough to have eye doctors like I did, they are looking to profit from problems and get kickbacks from drug companies for the drugs they hope to prescribe in the future. Record your doctor visits, I’ve never done that, but my co-worker does.

    1. They just use the tag “things they won’t tell you” to get people interested… most of these “won’t tell you” articles are actually filled with things they would tell you… with a few exceptions, perhaps.

      1. No, I stated that I worked with eye doctors for ten years. (Same person different name on Acct)

    2. I take it you are a doctor then. Do you tell your patients if you detect cataracts? Most doctors don’t, not even opthalmologists. My state Optometry Board says it’s not really a disease so they don’t see any reason to reveal this to the patient/worry them. Seriously?!????!!!!

      1. (Same person different name on acct) I never said I was an eye doctor. I said I worked with several of ten years. Yes, every single doctor I’ve worked with (12 of them from two practices) have told a patient when they detected cataracts even when it was too early to operate on them. If state boards are advising that, doctors are not listening and I have worked with ones in the field for 40 plus years and even newer ones externing in our office before graduating.

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