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Optometry Insight: Carrots and Eyesight

Are carrots good for eyesight? While eye doctors admit that carrots contain significant quantities of a beta-carotene which is known to be beneficial for your eyes, eating a lot of carrots will not eliminate your need for visual aids.

Beta-carotene is an orange colored pigment (carotenoid) that changes into vitamin A after it's absorbed in the human body. Vitamin A guards the surface of the eye (cornea) and has been shown to be preventative for certain eye diseases such as corneal ulcers. Vitamin A, an antioxidant compound, protects the surface of the eye to decrease the frequency of ocular infections as well as other infectious illnesses. Vitamin A has also shown to be a successful treatment for dry eye syndrome as well as other eye conditions. A deficiency of vitamin A (which is exist more in underdeveloped countries) often causes night blindness, corneal ulcers and retinal damage which can lead to blindness.

There are two types of vitamin A, which depend upon the food source from which they come. Retinol is vitamin A that comes from an animal source such as beef, chicken liver, whole milk or cheese. Vitamin A that is fruit and vegetable-derived exists in the form of ''provitamin A'' carotenoids, which convert to retinol after the nutrients are absorbed. In addition to carrots, carotenoids can be found in colorful fruits and vegetables particularly those that are bright orange or green in color.

It is proven that through most forms, vitamin A contributes to the health of your eyes as well as your overall health. Even though carrots themselves won't fix corneal refraction which causes vision impairments, grandma had it right when she advised ''finish your vegetables.''