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The Eye Doc Says: Eat Carrots for Eye Health

Can carrots really improve vision? While eye doctors affirm that carrots contain significant quantities of a beta-carotene that has proven to be very good for the eyes, carrots can not take the place of suitable corrective eye care.

Beta-carotene is a carotenoid, or orange pigment that converts into vitamin A after it's digested in the human body. Vitamin A helps to guard the cornea, or surface of the eye, and has been shown to be preventative for various eye diseases such as macular degeneration. Vitamin A, which is composed of a number of antioxidants, guards the cornea to reduce the risk of ocular infections and other infectious illnesses. Vitamin A is also known to be an effective solution for dry eye syndrome as well as other eye conditions. A deficiency of vitamin A (which is be more common in underdeveloped countries) is known to cause night blindness, corneal ulcers and retinal damage which can contribute to complete blindness.

There are two variations of vitamin A, which relate to the food source they come from. Vitamin A originating from an animal is called Retinol and can be obtained from foods such as beef, chicken liver, or dairy products. Vitamin A that is fruit and vegetable-derived comes in the form of ''provitamin A'' carotenoids, which convert to retinol after the nutrients are absorbed. In addition to carrots, carotenoids are ingested when eating colorful fruits and vegetables such as oranges, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale and cantaloupes.

It is proven that through most forms, vitamin A contributes to the health of your eyes as well as your total well being. Although carrots themselves can't fix near or far-sightedness, grandma had it right when she said ''finish your carrots.''