Did you ever hear your parents tell you not to squint as a child? It’s a common wives tale that squinting is bad for your vision, just like sitting too close to the TV or reading in the dark. In reality, squinting is not bad for your eye health. That said, if you find yourself squinting a lot, there’s probably a reason for it. It’s likely that you have a refractive error (nearsightedness or farsightedness) and need glasses or a new prescription.
Why Do People Squint?
The human eye works similarly to a camera. Light enters your eye through the cornea, and the cornea bends light so it can pass through the pupil. The iris then gets bigger or smaller depending on the amount of light coming through. In dark rooms, your pupils get bigger to allow more light. In well-lit environments, the pupils stay small.
If you have a refractive error, your vision will be blurry. By squinting, you can instantly increase your level of focus because the pupil gets smaller and lets in less light. Squinting also changes the shape of the eye, again helping you focus on something in particular.
Is Squinting Harmful to My Vision?
Eye squinting in itself is not a harmful habit. It won’t harm your vision or your eye health. However, if you find yourself squinting in order to focus on things up close or far away, this is an indication that you have a refractive error. By scheduling an eye exam with your eye doctor, you can find out if you need glasses or a stronger prescription.
Additionally, it’s important to point out that squinting all the time can lead to headaches. This happens because you’re over-contracting the muscles in your face. Again, while squinting isn’t bad in itself, it indicates an underlying problem. Fortunately, blurry vision can be fixed with glasses, contact lenses or LASIK eye surgery.
Scheduling Your Eye Doctor Visit
Aside from squinting, people with refractive errors often experience double vision, haziness, blurred vision, headaches and eye strain. Any of these symptoms warrant a call to your ophthalmologist. During your eye exam, you will complete a number of tests to determine what type of refractive error you have – astigmatism, hyperopia, myopia or presbyopia. From there, the doctor will recommend the best options. It’s easy and painless, so schedule your appointment today!