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Myth or Fact: Eating Carrots Improves Eyesight

August 27, 2013

The notion that eating carrots improves eyesight sounds like a story your mother made up to get you to eat your vegetables. But is there any truth to it? According to Duke ophthalmologist Jill Koury, MD, there is a connection between eating carrots and maintaining good eyesight.

There’s nothing magical about the carrots alone -- it’s the vitamin A within the carrots that is so important for eye health. “Vitamin A in normal, recommended quantities is essential for the maintenance of good vision,” explains Dr. Koury.

If a person is deprived of vitamin A for too long, the outer segments of the eye’s photoreceptors begin to deteriorate, and the normal chemical processes involved in vision no longer occur. Restoring your vitamin A intake will help restore your vision as well.

Moderation Is Key

Before you run to the store to stock up on bags of carrots, keep in mind that overdosing on carrots in an attempt to improve vision is unlikely to aid in your quest for better vision. In fact, eating too many carrots can cause your skin to appear yellow or yellow-orange due to a build-up of blood carotene levels.

Protecting Your Sight

Dr. Koury notes that there are no exercises, drops, or special dietary supplements to improve eyesight or protect against the development of sight-threatening conditions.

Her tips for protecting and maintaining good visions include:

  • Eat a balanced diet that provides the minimum daily requirements of essential nutrients and vitamins or take a multi-vitamin pill. This will ensure that you get the vitamin A you need to maintain normal vision.
  • Wear protective eyewear for sports, yard work, and all hazardous household or industrial activities. Many eye injuries that cause vision loss can be prevented by simply wearing protective eyewear.
  • Visit your eye doctor regularly to ensure that he or she can diagnose and treat any potential vision problems. School-age children should go annually; healthy adults without family history of eye disease should go every two years. After age 50, you should go annually.
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