# Do carrots really help improve eyesight?

#### ProfuselyQuarky

Gold Member
I keep reading and hearing conflicting information. Some articles say that eating carrots to improve eyesight is a total myth. Others say that, yes, carrots really are a super food for eyes. The latter group says all that stuff about how beta-carotene creates vitamin A which improves the way eyes convert light to brain signals, but is this really effective? I used to daily eat whole, raw carrots to improve my awful vision but, eventually, I visited the ophthalmologist who said that eating all those carrots (although delicious) was effort in vain. So now I wear glasses and have stopped eating carrots like a fanatic.

What’s the truth? If carrots do help eyesight, how exactly and why do so many people think otherwise? If carrots don’t help, then what does the beta-carotene really do?

Related Biology and Medical News on Phys.org

#### ProfuselyQuarky

Gold Member
The vitamin A produced from carrots won't correct bad vision, but it's good for the eyes.
So it's only a matter of prevention? There's no way to get back 20-20 vision without laser treatment or anything with the word "surgery"?
Beta-carotene, which is found in the vegetable, may help reduce the risk of cataract and macular degeneration. However, it needs be pointed out that studies which have posited this link used doses of Vitamin A or beta-carotene that were higher than what is found in the standard diet.
The number of carrots that I ate was a wonder--far more than the standard diet. Let's see . . . I would eat about three large, raw carrots a day. With some searching, I found that even only a small carrot has about 4,142 micrograms of beta-carotene, which is equivalent to 4.142 milligrams. Apparently, one should have 15-180 milligrams of beta-carotene daily. $(4.142)(3)=12.426$, so I still didn't eat enough for anything. And all that time, I thought I was doing something really good

#### Evo

Mentor
So it's only a matter of prevention? There's no way to get back 20-20 vision without laser treatment or anything with the word "surgery"?

The number of carrots that I ate was a wonder--far more than the standard diet. Let's see . . . I would eat about three large, raw carrots a day. With some searching, I found that even only a small carrot has about 4,142 micrograms of beta-carotene, which is equivalent to 4.142 milligrams. Apparently, one should have 15-180 milligrams of beta-carotene daily. $(4.142)(3)=12.426$, so I still didn't eat enough for anything. And all that time, I thought I was doing something really good
Well, on the bright side, you didn't do anything bad.

#### ProfuselyQuarky

Gold Member
Well, on the bright side, you didn't do anything bad.
How optimistic of you! Thanks

Though, I forgot to mention that I used to read in the dark, which caused my poor sight to begin with

#### Evo

Mentor
How optimistic of you! Thanks

Though, I forgot to mention that I used to read in the dark, which caused my poor sight to begin with
I used to read fine in the dark, but as you get older, you need more light, I should dig up the scientific reason why.

#### jim mcnamara

Mentor
Let's go back a bit.
Retinoids (named after the retina) are Vitamin A-related compounds, precursors to one of the several versions of the vitamin or useful cousins.

Lycopene and lutein are usually classified this way. Lycopene is the red "stuff" in chromoplasts in tomato fruit cells. Lutein is found in dark green vegetables, for example. For people who have - for example diabetic retinitis or age related macular disease - lutein is often recommended. Lycopene is not. It apparently has a function in the human prostate. See lycopene link below

The UDSA and NIH try make this stuff simple - like eat carrots - when in fact it is pretty complicated. What they are trying to accomplish is very commendable but usually does not always fly the way they hoped.

So if you have retinal damage due to disease process, like macular eye disease, consider - broccoli, kale, collards, et al. Add some fat (oil or butter) when you cook them to enhance lutein uptake. Corn has a very small amount of zeaxanthin which is "first cousin" to lutein.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20576249
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3850026/ lycopene effects

#### ProfuselyQuarky

Gold Member
Thanks! So carrots really aren't so special after all? I'll read the links and see if I have questions.

#### jim mcnamara

Mentor
Carrots are fine. All I'm saying is there is usually no panacea - eating just one food 'fixes your eyes'. I guess I'm pitching against a 'superfood' approach. You can easily overdo it. Example: read about lycopenemia caused by eating way too much tomato-derived food.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2665964/

#### GailConnor

I have also read in Livescience article that it is a myth that improve your eyesight. But carrots help you to keep healthy and fit.

#### BillTre

Gold Member
2018 Award
Carrots may help with night vision (vision in low light levels) problems.

The visual system is complex and can have many different problems associated with its different components.

The rods in the retina are the photoreceptors that are responsible for low light level (black and white) light detection and are scattered all over the retina (but less so in the fovea). Cone photoreceptors detect different colors and are concentrated at the fovea in the retina.

All photoreceptors turn over their photoreceptor molecules, so a constant production of new photoreceptor molecules is required to maintain functional levels of photoreceptor molecules.
Carrots provide a precursor molecule for the production of new rod photoreceptor molecules.
If there is a shortage of these precursor molecules, carrots may provide a nutrient to fulfill that need which can result in improved night vision.

Eating carrots would not be expected to improve other kinds of vision problems since they are not related to this process.
This would include problems with eyeball optics, problems with retina attachment or degeneration. Their rods could well be in a fine condition, so carrots would not have any affect.

See an eye doctor!

#### jim mcnamara

Mentor
This is actually a thread from April. It was resurrected.

#### Rafa_El

Well i think if it come to myopia i will say no. Because i have -6.00 myopia and ate much carrot and vit.A supplement that said can fix ur eye. But not. It has nothing to do if you have myopia, since it was a degenariton of eye lens muscle. Carrot contains vit.A and beta karotenoid for Rodopsin i think
Correct me if i'm wrong

#### rbelli1

Gold Member
If you think you have a specific deficiency affecting your eyes you should see a doctor. They will be able to diagnose that and prescribe a course of action based on their findings.

BoB

"Do carrots really help improve eyesight?"

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