Carrots And Corneas: Can Eating Carrots Really Help Your Eyesight?

Health & Medical Blog

Ever since you were a child, you've probably heard that eating carrots is good for you because they will help your eyes to see better. Before you keep on downing these orange vegetables, it's important to get to the truth of the matter. Where did this belief come from, and is there any validity to it? You're about to find out.

What's So Special About Carrots?

The short answer is nothing. But, that's not because carrots aren't good for your eyes. They simply do not hold the monopoly on healthy vegetables and fruits for the eyes. The reason why carrots have such a good reputation is because they contain a high amount of a compound called beta carotene. The body uses beta carotene to make vitamin A.

Vitamin A supports the health of the cornea, and is an effective proactive treatment for:

  • macular degeneration. 
  • retinis pigmentosa
  • dry eyes
  • inflammation in the eye
  • Stargardt's disease

The reason why this vitamin is helpful is because it is a natural anti-oxidant. Oxidation is a natural process brought on by aging. A by-product of oxidation is the creation of free radicals, which can alter the DNA of the body, and accelerate the progression on degenerative disease. Anti-oxidants, like vitamin A, slow this process by reducing the amount of free radicals in the body. 

Can Carrots Bestow Super Vision?

However, turning orange as you load up on carrots will not turn you into a superhero. Contrary to popular myth, extra carrots in the diet will not suddenly give you 20-20 vision, or the ability to see better than other people in the dark. A good diet that is full of vitamin A will give you normal vision, and increasing your intake could actually be detrimental your health. Excess vitamin A causes:

  • blurry vision
  • bleeding in the lungs
  • bone loss
  • joint point
  • eye paint
  • permanent damage to the eye

Basically, a deficiency in vitamin A is rare, especially in the United States. Don't be tempted to overdose to stave off blindness or to get supersonic night vision. It is easiest to overdose on vitamin A from animal sources, like milk and liver, or from supplements. Because of this, it is usually better to get vitamin A in the form of beta carotene from vegetable sources. Beta carotene is easily processed by the body, making it difficult to ever eat too much vegetables. So, if you hate eating vegetables, citing that too many carrots can be toxic won't help your case. 

Carrots Get All The Fame, But Should They Have All The Glory?

The answer is no. Other foods have just as much, if not more, beta carotene than carrots do. Some of these foods include:

  • kale
  • spinach
  • yams or sweet potatoes
  • cantaloupe
  • apricots
  • butternut squash
  • broccoli

So, do carrots deserve their eye-saving reputation? Yes and no. They are just one of many vegetables and fruits that can help support healthy vision. Talk your eye doctor about how your diet can help support healthy vision, and don't forget to eat your vegetables. For more information, contact a clinic such as Country Hills Eye Center.


21 October 2014