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Home » What's New » Optometry Insight: Carrots and Vision

Optometry Insight: Carrots and Vision

Are carrots really beneficial for your eyesight? While optometrists affirm that carrots are made up of large amounts of a beta-carotene which is known to be very good for the eyes, ingesting enormous quantities of the healthy vegetable will not eliminate your need for corrective eye wear.

Beta-carotene is a carotenoid, or orange pigment that converts into vitamin A after it's absorbed in the body. Vitamin A helps to guard the cornea, or surface of the eye, and has been shown to prevent a number of eye diseases such as corneal ulcers. Vitamin A, which is composed of a number of antioxidants, protects the surface of the eye to reduce the frequency of eye infections and other infectious diseases. Vitamin A has also shown to be an effective treatment for dry eyes as well as other eye conditions. A lack of vitamin A (which tends to exist more in poor and developing countries) often causes night blindness, corneal ulcers and retinal damage which can contribute to total blindness.

Two forms of vitamin A exist, which relate to the nutritional source they come from. Vitamin A originating from an animal is called Retinol and can be obtained from foods such as beef, chicken liver, whole milk or cheese. Vitamin A that is obtained from fruits and vegetables exists in the form of ''provitamin A'' carotenoids, which break down to retinol after the food is digested. In addition to carrots, carotenoids can be found in colorful fruits and vegetables particularly those that are bright orange or green in color.

There is no doubt that through most forms, vitamin A contributes to the health of your eyes and your total well being. Even though carrots themselves can't correct optical distortion which causes near or far-sightedness, grandma was right when she advised ''finish your vegetables.''