Are Carrots Really Good For Your Vision?

Posted By Key-Whitman Eye Center || 29-Jan-2015

“Eat your carrots, they’re good for your eyes.” Did you ever hear this growing up? Have you passed this little nugget of wisdom on to your own children? Is it even true?

The answer is not as simple as “yes” or “no.”

Yes, carrots, like many vegetables, help to promote healthy eyes. However, carrots will not correct existing vision problems. If you’re dependent on glasses or contact lenses to see clearly, eating a generous helping of carrots on a daily basis won’t give you 20/20 vision.

So what's good about carrots?

Carrots are an excellent source of beta-carotene, a nutrient that the body converts to vitamin A. An extreme deficiency of vitamin A can cause blindness. In fact, vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of blindness in developing countries.

Vitamin A, a group of antioxidant compounds, helps the surface of the eye effectively protect against bacteria and viruses, which can cause eye infections. Vitamin A also helps protect against cataracts, macular degeneration and xerophthalmia—a condition that causes the eyes to stop producing tears, which can lead to dry eyes, swollen eyelids and corneal ulcers. Some research suggests that over-the-counter eye drops containing vitamin A are an effective treatment against dry eye syndrome.

Carrots also contain lutein, an antioxidant that can help lower the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. Some research has also shown that lutein supplementation may be used in treating non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy.

Carrots aren’t the only foods that contain beta-carotene and lutein. Beta-carotene is a pigment found in many orange fruits and vegetables, including sweet potatoes, mangoes, pumpkins, apricots and cantaloupe. Milk, cheese, egg yolks and liver also contain beta-carotene. Lutein is found in carrots as well as dark leafy greens like spinach, kale and Swiss chard.

While eating carrots may not mean you can say goodbye to your glasses or contact lenses, a healthy diet rich in nutrients can help prevent the development of vision-threatening eye conditions.

Categories: Eye Health
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