Myths and Legends

Do Carrots Improve Eyesight?

97th Street GreenMarket November 30, 201 by smith_cl9, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic LicensePhoto by  smith_cl9

Were you ever told by your Mother while growing up that eating lots of carrots would give you good eyesight? Most of us have probably heard that at one time or another, but is there any truth to it? We all know it’s good to eat out vegetables, it will give us all the essential vitamins and minerals our bodies need to stay fit and healthy. So I wanted to take an in depth look at carrots and exactly what they do for you health wise.

Are Carrots Good for Eyesight

Well, I hate to break it to you, but all those times your folks may of been telling you carrots would give you super powered eyes may not of been true. Although carrots will not improve your eyesight, they still play a huge role in keeping your eyes from deteriorating in the event there is a vitamin A deficiency. Carrots are rich in vitamin A which is essential for keeping good eyesight. Even though carrots do not contain the actual vitamin A, they do have beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A when broke down in our bodies.
The retina is located in the back of your eye and Vitamin A is essential in preventing macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is a common eye disease that’s associated with getting older. This form of degeneration may lead to weakening eyesight or even result in blindness.

What Does Vitamin A Do

Vitamin A, once absorbed into the retina, produces a purple pigment known as Rhodopsin. Rhodopsin is important in aiding your vision in low light conditions. Then you have beta-carotene, which acts as a filter that protects the eyes lens. This all aids in preventing cataracts. But it is possible to over do it on the beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a form of orange pigment, and there are some side effects to it. In excessive amounts, it may turn your skin a yellow or orange color. This is known as Carotenemia. Even though carrots are known to be high in vitamin A, there are also many other green vegetables that contain large amounts of vitamin A. So as long as we’re eating a well balances diet that contains plenty of vegetables, that will give our bodies all the nutrients we need for good vision.

Where did the Saying Come From

Some time during WWII, the erroneous belief that carrots would give you excellent night vision was formed. Interestingly enough, the Royal Air Force spread a rumor that their pilots were gaining super night vision by eating extra carrots.  And that this was giving them a major advantage over their Nazi enemies. Of course this was a flat out lie and was designed as a diversion to what was really happening. They had actually designed a secret airborne radar system, which was the real advantage they had.
There was one RAF pilot that took on the nick name of “Cat’s Eyes” because he had outstanding night vision. He also had an awesome record of shooting down enemy aircraft during the night. I’m sure you can guess this one, but all his accomplishments were attributed to eating lots of good ole carrots. This rumor became so widely known that eventually even their own forces believe it. Soon they were all eating their fare share of carrots in the belief it would help them find their way around during blackouts. Even though food rations were quite scarce during these hard times, you can bet there were plenty of carrots available!
So what have we learned? Carrots may not improve your vision, but they will keep it from deteriorating. So sorry to say, but it’s still a good idea to eat your veggies. So for all you that are reading this in hopes of finding a new out from eating carrots, sorry I couldn’t help. Believe me, I’ve been searching for a logical excuse for a long, long time! 🙂

Similar Posts

17 thoughts on “Do Carrots Improve Eyesight?
  1. i have seen lot of good information on this blog. i like it. good information available on this sites.

  2. β-carotene, the orange pigment in carrots, is indeed the natural precursor of vitamin A, that is needed by the retina of the eye in the form of a specific metabolite, the light-absorbing molecule retinal, that is necessary for both low-light (scotopic vision) and color vision. Bugs Bunny would have made a great night fighter pilot.

  3. I try to eat a good variety of fresh vegetables but when I can’t do that, I’ve always loved a glass of fresh carrot juice!

    1. Ahh yes, I never really cared for vegetables much as a kid, but of course our taste changes as we get older. I love them now and always try to get a nice helping with each meal. Never been real big on carrot juice, but the occasional V8 does happen. 🙂

      1. The funny part is nutritious food isn’t tasty and tasty food isn’t nutritious.
        Wish carrots tasted like ice-cream. Everyone would have perfect vision then.

        1. lol, this is very true, very few things that are good for you have a desirable taste, but we have to eat them none the less. Carrots are probably my least favorite vegetable, but if they did taste like ice cream that would be so awesome!

  4. Darn it. I had so hoped that carrots helped your vision. Growing up I ate so many carrots that my eyesight would be awesome.

    1. Sorry VSP, carrots won’t give you Superman vision, but they are still good for your diet either way.

    1. Yes Daniel, unfortunately carrots although great for your diet, are not so much a cure for poor eyesight. Thanks for the comment!

  5. Informative article and thanks for sharing. I agree with you that carrots will not improve our eyesight dramatically unless we lacked vitamins A in the first place. But adding them to a balanced diet, it can act as a great supplement for good eye health. Just don’t go overdosing. Too much of anything becomes bad.

    1. Very well said Andrewson. I agree carrots are a great supplement along with a healthy diet. Personally I don’t really care much for their taste, but most healthy things aren’t very delicious unfortunately.

Comments are closed.