13 Secrets Your Eye Doctor Won’t Tell You

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

Sunglasses aren't just a fashion statement

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"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. (Don't miss these other 10 sunglasses myths ruining your eyes.)

Carrots aren't the secret to eye health


"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. (Check out these other 10 best foods for preventing macular degeneration, the leading cause of irreversible age-related blindness.)

Polarized isn't best for every situation

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"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. (Here are 12 more things you should know before buying sunglasses.)

You're storing your eye drops wrong

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"Eyedrops (any kind) sting less if you keep them in the refrigerator." — Janice Jurkus, OD. (No eye drops on hand? Try these 10 home remedies for dry and irritated eyes.)

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You can stop fearing night reading

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"Reading in dim light won't hurt your eyes. The worst that might happen is that you get a headache." — Eric Donnenfeld, MD. (But you should learn these 7 sneaky signs you need reading glasses.)

Not all eye drops are created equal


"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. (Learn why you should never ignore these 7 signs of dry eye syndrome.)

Head to the doctor for pinkeye


"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. (Head straight to the doctor with these 7 clear signs of pink eye.)

Don't wait until there's a problem


"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. (For instance, your kid might have one of these 9 common vision problems parents miss.)

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Always remove contacts at night


"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. (Quit making these other 18 contact lens mistakes that ruin your eyes.)

Don't just use anything to wipe your glasses


"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. (Don't miss these other 9 things eye experts aren't telling you about glasses.)

Sorry, but dilated pupils mess with your vision


"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. (Before your next eye appointment, read these 13 easy ways to improve your eyesight.)

Stand your ground when it comes to money


"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. (Watch for these 7 signs of eye cataracts.)

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It pays to wait


"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. (No matter how old you are, steal these 39 simple habits to protect your eyes.)

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