12477475_sOver the years, patients have continued to wonder if eating carrots could improve their vision.  In certain cases, carrots can indeed have a positive impact on eyesight (specifically in low light conditions).  Carrots are rich in a red-orange pigment known as beta carotene.  This pigment is used in the production of vitamin A throughout the body.  In the eye, vitamin A allows for the translation of light into signals that can be sent to the brain.  Vitamin A is also important in the nourishment of the cornea (the clear front surface of the eye). 

The amount of carrots that would need to be consumed in order to improve vision in low light levels is unclear.  A recent study found that women who consumed a regular diet of carrots for six weeks showed improvement in their visual response in darkness.  Further studies have shown that beta carotene converts to vitamin A inefficiently in the body, meaning that the patient would have to eat an enormous of carrots to get results.  There should be caution taken with excessive consumption of beta-carotene, as the body needs to dispose of the excess amount that is not utilized.  Particularly speaking, patients who smoke tend to increase their risk for lung cancer with high intake of beta-carotene.  Moderation and balance is the key to diet enhanced vision.  When adding beta-carotene to our diet, my wife and eye tend to juice carrots with other fruits and vegetables. 

As stated before in an earlier blog post, leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach offer more of an advantage when it comes to eye health.  These vegetables are high in antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which ultimately protect the eye from absorption of ultraviolet light rays and other high energy light waves.

Source: Scientific American