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True or False: Can Carrots Really Improve your Eyesight?

Can carrots really enhance eyesight? While eye care professionals affirm that the orange root vegetables are made up of large amounts 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 changes into vitamin A once absorbed in the body. Vitamin A guards the cornea, or surface of the eye, and has been proven to be preventative for various eye diseases such as corneal ulcers. Vitamin A, a group of antioxidant compounds, guards the surface of the eye to decrease the frequency of ocular infections as well as other infectious illnesses. Vitamin A has also shown to be an effective treatment for dry eye syndrome and other eye disorders. A deficiency of this important vitamin (which tends to be more likely in poor and developing countries) often causes night blindness, corneal ulcers and retinal damage which can contribute to complete blindness.

There are two types of vitamin A, which depend upon the nutritional source they come from. Retinol is vitamin A derived from an animal origin such as beef, chicken liver, or dairy products. Vitamin A that is obtained from fruits and vegetables comes in the form of ''provitamin A'' carotenoids, which are converted to retinol after the food is absorbed. In addition to carrots, carotenoids are ingested when eating colorful produce such as oranges, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale and cantaloupes.

There is no question that vitamin A is beneficial to your eyes and your total health. Even though carrots themselves won't correct vision impairments, grandma was right when she advised ''eat your vegetables.''