Long bangs aren’t hazardous to eye health, despite Australian optometrist’s warnings

Lindsay MacAdam
Shine On
May 16, 2012

Earlier this week, the internet was abuzz with news that sent side-fringe wearers everywhere straight to their nearest hair salon for chop. In a panic-evoking story, the Daily Telegraph cited an optometrist from Tasmania, Australia who claimed that having long bangs covering one eye only can cause a lazy eye, otherwise known as amblyopia.

"If a young emo chap has a fringe covering one eye all the time, that eye won't see a lot of detail," says optometrist Andrew Hogan to Australia's Daily Telegraph. "And if it happens from a young age, that eye can become amblyotic."

He continues on to say that having a curtain-like fringe over one eye is similar to wearing an eye patch, which would shield it from both sensory stimulation and sunlight, which could the lead to short sightedness and, potentially, a lazy eye.

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"If you walk around with an eye patch on all day, then that eye will end up seeing more poorly than the other eye," he concludes.

Well, let's hope your hairdresser was booked solid and you couldn't get in to see her yet, because apparently there shouldn't be cause for concern after all. While Hogan's arguments likely sound valid to anyone without a background in optometry, MSNBC didn't just take Hogan's word for it. They instead reacted to the story by doing what every responsible news provider should do -- they confirmed the facts with another credible source.

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They approached New Jersey-based Dr. Leonard Press, who co-authored the American Optometric Association's clinical practice guidelines on amblyopia. He had a lot to say about the topic -- specifically, that Hogan's statements were not warranted.

"The story would only be true if you had somebody young enough, and if that person never looked out of that eye -- if it was blocked 24/7," he tells MSNBC. "The reason that it's false is that you don't have that constant deprivation."

After childhood, one's neural and optical mechanisms are "so well-established that combing your hair over one eye will not do anything to that system," he continues.

And there you have it. "Emo" kids everywhere are breathing a collective sigh of relief.

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