Can Eating Carrots Really Help Someone To See Better?
Not too surprisingly, the answer is yes! This is particular true if a person has very low body levels of Vitamin A since such deficiency can interfere with tear production and reduce the normal function of the retina. Carrots contain Vitamin A in its storage forms as Beta-Carotene which can later be converted back into Vitamin A once eaten. Beta-Carotene is the main vegetable pigment that gives carrots their unusal orange color. Many other vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients beneficial to eye health are often found in fruits or vegetables. Some of the most important include those with anti-oxidant properties such as Vitamin C, Vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin E as well as Zinc and Selenium. Other vegetable pigments, namely Lutein and Zeaxanthin, similarly can act as anti-oxidants and appear to be protective to the retina. In addition, the essential fatty acids (“Omega 3, 6, and 9”) support the health of the pigment cell layer under the retina and help to provide the building blocks of the oils needed to make the outer layer of the tears. Numerous recent scientific studies report the protective benefits of good nutrition on the prevention of cataracts and in slowing some of the nature aging changes that contribute to the degeneration of the central retina. This so-called Age-related Macular Degeneration is one of the most common cause of vision loss and blindness in adults, particularly those over 65 years of age. The bottom line is that healthy eyes need healthy diets.
Mark A. Pavilack, M.D.
Cornea, Cataract, and LASIK Specialist