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Truth or Myth: Can Carrots Improve Vision?

You may have been told that carrots improve your eyesight, but is this the truth? Optometrists know that carrots can't actually improve your eyesight. However, carrots do contain substantial quantities of beta-carotene, a vitamin that is beneficial for the health of your eyes and therefore consuming foods rich in beta-carotene is surely recommended for ensuring eye health.

Beta-carotene is an orange pigment (carotenoid) that changes into vitamin A after it's digested in the body. Vitamin A strengthens the surface of the eye (cornea) and has been shown to prevent a number of eye diseases such as corneal ulcers. Vitamin A, which is composed of a number of antioxidants, guards the cornea to decrease the frequency of eye infections as well as other infectious diseases. Vitamin A has also shown to be an effective solution for dry eye syndrome as well as other eye disorders. A lack of vitamin A (which tends to exist more in underdeveloped countries) often causes night blindness, corneal ulcers and retinal damage which can contribute to blindness.

Two types of vitamin A exist, which relate to the food source they come from. Vitamin A originating from an animal is called Retinol and can be found in foods such as beef, liver, whole milk or cheese. Vitamin A that is produce-derived comes in the form of ''provitamin A'' carotenoids, which are converted to retinol after the nutrients are absorbed. In addition to carrots, carotenoids are ingested when eating colorful fruits and vegetables particularly those that are bright orange or green in color.

It is proven that vitamin A contributes to the health of your eyes and your total well being. Although carrots can't correct near or far-sightedness, grandma had it right when she advised ''finish your carrots.''