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The Eye Doctor Recommends: Eat Carrots for Eye Health

We have all been told that carrots help you see better, but is it the truth? Eye doctors will tell you that regardless of how many carrots you eat, they can't save you from needing eye glasses. However, they are rich in beta-carotene, a vitamin that is beneficial for the health of your eyes and therefore ingesting foods rich in beta-carotene is clearly a recommendation for ensuring eye health.

Beta-carotene is a carotenoid, or orange pigment that converts into vitamin A once digested in the body. Vitamin A protects the surface of the eye (cornea) and has been proven to be preventative for certain eye diseases such as corneal ulcers. Vitamin A, which is composed of a number of antioxidants, protects the surface of the eye to reduce the frequency of eye infections and other infectious diseases. Vitamin A has also shown to be a successful solution for dry eye syndrome and other eye disorders. A lack of this important vitamin (which tends to be more likely in poor and developing countries) is known to cause night blindness, corneal ulcers and retinal damage which can contribute to complete blindness.

Two types of vitamin A exist, which depend upon the nutritional source from which they come. Retinol is vitamin A derived from an animal source such as beef, chicken liver, or dairy products. Vitamin A that is derived from produce comes in the form of ''provitamin A'' carotenoids, which break down to retinol after the food is absorbed. In addition to carrots, carotenoids are ingested when eating colorful produce particularly those that are bright orange or green in color.

There is no doubt that vitamin A is beneficial to your eyes as well as your overall well being. Although carrots themselves won't correct vision impairments, grandma had it right when she said ''eat your carrots.''

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