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Home » What's New » Eye Doctor Insight: Carrots and Vision

Eye Doctor Insight: Carrots and Vision

We have all heard that carrots improve night vision, but is it really true? Optometrists will tell you that carrots can't actually improve your vision. However, they do provide large quantities of beta-carotene, a vitamin that is beneficial for the health of your eyes and therefore eating foods rich in this vitamin is definitely recommended for proper eye health.

Beta-carotene is an orange colored pigment (carotenoid) that changes into vitamin A once digested in the human body. Vitamin A strengthens the cornea, or surface of the eye, and has been shown to prevent various eye diseases such as macular degeneration. Vitamin A, an antioxidant compound, protects the cornea to reduce the frequency of ocular infections as well as other infectious diseases. Vitamin A is also known to be a successful treatment for dry eye syndrome as well as other eye conditions. A lack of vitamin A (which is be more likely in underdeveloped countries) is known to cause night blindness, corneal ulcers and retinal damage which can lead to total blindness.

Two forms of vitamin A exist, which depend upon the nutritional source they come from. Vitamin A derived from an animal is called Retinol and can be obtained from foods such as beef, liver, whole milk or cheese. Vitamin A that is fruit and vegetable-derived comes in the form of ''provitamin A'' carotenoids, which break down to retinol after the nutrients are digested. In addition to carrots, carotenoids can be found in colorful produce such as oranges, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale and cantaloupes.

It is proven that through most forms, vitamin A is beneficial to your eyes as well as your total well being. Even though carrots themselves can't fix corneal refraction which causes vision impairments, mother was right when she said ''eat your vegetables.''