Is there any truth to the statement that carrots improve your eyesight? Actually, since the Middle Ages, carrots have been heralded as miracle vegetables and were thought to cure anything from snakebites to breathing problems. These orange root vegetables were not associated with strong eyesight until centuries later during World War II, when it was mandated that everyone should eat carrots so they could see better during the mandatory blackouts, but this was mere propaganda.
Before we dub the carrot a phony when it comes to improving eyesight, whilst it cannot restore vision loss or make any structural changes to the eye, the carrot is beneficial for overall vision health.
Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, a carotenoid pigment which is an essential precursor for vitamin A. Deficiencies in vitamin A are the leading causes of blindness in the developing world. Lack of vitamin A can also lead to:
– Macular degeneration; and
– Xerophthalmia – a disease which is characterized by dry eyes, swollen eyelids and corneal ulcers
Carrots also contain lutein, an important antioxidant. Lutein-rich foods are known to increase the density of pigment in the macula. As pigment density increases, the retina is protected more and the risk for macular degeneration decreases.
The carrot provides many benefits for healthy vision, but eating carrots every day will not restore your vision to 20/20. Optical deformities like astigmatism and diseases like glaucoma can’t be corrected by eating the Easter Bunny’s food of choice and corrective lenses and eye procedures are still necessary. However, being rich in vitamin A and lutein, carrots are always a good choice for a nutrient-packed snack!