The Truth about Carrots and Eye Health

Submitted by alexasaul on Mon, 09/24/2018 - 21:30

“Eat more carrots, they’re great for your vision!” Chances are we’ve all heard this statement many times, whether from our parents, teachers, or friends.  When we were younger, and maybe even recently, we gobbled up carrots believing that they would give our eyes superior sight. What exactly about carrots is said to be so great for our eyesight, and is it actually true?

Carrots themselves are notably rich in beta-carotene, an organic pigment which our bodies convert into Vitamin A. In itself, Vitamin A has many important benefits ranging from promoting bone health to supporting a healthy immune system. Perhaps most importantly, Vitamin A plays a key role in maintaining our night and color vision by means of forming photoreceptor proteins in the eye called opsins, or more commonly known as rods and cones. Our rods are photoreceptors located in the retina that are responsible for allowing the eyes to function at night or in low-light conditions. The other type of photoreceptor, cones, are also located in the retina and are responsible for allowing the eyes to process images in color as well as high intensity light conditions. 



In terms of finding out the truth about the relationship between carrots and our eyesight, eating large quantities of carrots does not mean that your eyesight or visual acuity will improve. However, carrots and sources of Vitamin A are absolutely essential for maintaining eye health and reducing your risk for eye diseases. For instance, in the case of Vitamin A deficiency, the photoreceptors in the eye can begin to deteriorate, which can lead to vision problems like macular degeneration, cataracts, or even partial blindness. 

Carrots are great for maintaining the proper normal functionality of your eyes, but will not make bad vision better or reverse vision loss. Overall, the truth behind the age-old statement depends on how it is phrased. Yes, carrots are good for general eye health, but it is a myth to believe that carrots help you truly see better. Keep eating those carrots as a snack in order to provide your eyes with the nutrients they need to be healthy and functional.