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Home » What's New » Optometrist Insight: Carrots and Eyesight

Optometrist Insight: Carrots and Eyesight

We have all been told that carrots improve your vision, but is it the truth? Eye care professionals will tell you that regardless of how many carrots you eat, they can't prevent you from needing eye glasses. However, they are rich in beta-carotene, a vitamin that is very good for the health of your eyes and therefore eating carrots and other beta-carotene rich foods is surely a recommendation for proper eye health.

Beta-carotene is an orange colored pigment (carotenoid) that converts into vitamin A after it's digested in the body. Vitamin A guards the cornea, or surface of the eye, and has been shown to prevent certain eye diseases such as macular degeneration. Vitamin A, which is composed of a number of antioxidants, guards the surface of the eye to reduce the frequency of ocular infections as well as other infectious illnesses. Vitamin A is also known to be a successful treatment for dry eye syndrome as well as other eye disorders. A deficiency of this important vitamin (which tends to exist more in underdeveloped countries) often causes night blindness, corneal ulcers and retinal damage which can lead to blindness.

There are two types of vitamin A, which depend upon the food source from which they come. Retinol is vitamin A derived from an animal origin such as beef, chicken liver, or dairy products. Vitamin A that is obtained from fruits and vegetables exists in the form of ''provitamin A'' carotenoids, which are converted to retinol after the food is absorbed. In addition to carrots, carotenoids can be found in colorful produce such as oranges, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale and cantaloupes.

It is proven that vitamin A is beneficial to your eyes as well as your overall well being. Although carrots themselves won't correct optical distortion which causes near or far-sightedness, mother was right when she said ''finish your vegetables.''