The British Royal Air Force spread the rumor that carrots improve eyesight to protect sensitive new technology from prying eyes during WWII. They claimed that carrots rather than radar gave their pilots extraordinary night vision. It’s a myth that’s stuck around for decades. Why? Because it’s partially true.
Mitchell C. Latter, MD is a board-certified ophthalmologist with a reputation for providing premier eye care services to residents of South Pasadena and Bellflower, California. Dr. Latter offers people the benefits of his extensive expertise in using the most up-to-date technology available for treating conditions such as dry eyes, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, astigmatism, cataracts, and more.
This talented specialist is also committed to providing information about the basics of good eye health. Find out what Dr. Latter has to say about how carrots and other vital nutrients in your diet affect your vision.
Nutrition and your eyes
Your diet plays a significant role in keeping the tiny blood vessels and other vital cellular structures within your eyes performing at peak capacity.
Carrots, for instance, contain significant amounts of antioxidants, namely beta carotene and lutein. These substances help prevent certain compounds (free radicals) from causing the cellular damage associated with chronic conditions that impair eyesight, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). When left untreated, AMD can lead to the irreversible loss of your central vision.
Other medical conditions that can negatively impact eye health include:
- Elevated blood pressure (hypertension)
- Fatty liver disease
- Heart disease
- Chronic systemic inflammation
Effective management for these serious conditions typically includes prioritizing a healthy, balanced diet that also provides significant benefit to your overall eye health.
Finding the right balance
Carrots do provide valuable nutrients that can protect and even improve your night vision, but other nutrients play a vital role in your overall eye health. These include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Omega-3 fats
In most cases, rather than turning to supplements, Dr. Latter recommends obtaining these important vitamins and minerals from your diet.
What’s included in an eye-friendly diet?
Fortunately, the same nutritious foods that are beneficial to your overall well-being play a significant role in keeping your eyes healthy. In general, a healthy diet includes:
- Whole grains
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Lean proteins such as poultry and other lean meats
- Healthy fats, such as those found in nuts, olive oil, etc.
- Limited sugar-sweetened foods and drinks
Specific eye-friendly foods to reach for include:
- Kale, spinach, and other dark leafy green vegetables such as collard greens
- Fatty cold-water fish such as salmon or tuna
- Sweet potatoes, which are higher in beta-carotene than carrots
- Eggs, beans, and other non-meat protein sources
- Fruits high in vitamin C, including strawberries
While these foods can nourish your eyes from the inside out, you can also protect your vision by wearing UV blocking sunglasses, scheduling routine dilated eye exams, and limiting or taking periodic breaks from screen time to help avoid retinal strain.
For outstanding eye care that includes comprehensive eye exams, state-of-the-art treatment for a variety of eye conditions, and further information about nutrition and your eye health, schedule a visit with Dr. Latter today.