In the dead of night, just how did the British Air Force manage to gun down German aircraft during World War II?The now-defunct agency rolled out a propaganda campaign detailing the pilots’ superb carrot-enriched night vision and encouraging civilians to devour more of the locally grown vegetable to help them function during blackouts.Decades later rumors swirled that the British Royal Air Force pushed that message as a cover-up for the recently adopted radar technology they were secretly relying on for their nighttime skirmishes.One randomized control study in 2005 examined how consumption of roughly 4.5 ounces of cooked carrots six days a week stacked up against other vitamin A–rich options such as fortified rice, amaranth leaf and goat liver for helping address night blindness in pregnant women.The study found that a regular diet of the cooked carrots for six weeks helped to bring women’s response to darkness to normal levels.When it comes to eating nutrient-rich foods to improve eyesight, more generally, Chew suggests stocking up on green, leafy vegetables.Spinach, kale or collard greens—all chock-full of lutein and zeaxanthin (which are other food-derived nutrients)—could help protect your eyes by filtering high-energy wavelengths of visible light that can damage the retina. .

Myths about Your Eyes and Vision

Eating carrots will provide you with the small amount of vitamin A needed for good vision, but vitamin A isn't limited to rabbit food; it can also be found in milk, cheese, egg yolk, and liver.So eating more carrots won't help improve your vision if you are getting enough vitamin A in your diet. .

Do Carrots Actually Improve Eyesight?

Everyone has heard, “Eat your carrots to have good eyesight!” Is there any truth to this statement or is it a bunch of baloney?The greater pigment density in the macula, the better protected your retina is and the lower your risk for macular degeneration.Keep packing those carrot sticks in the school lunches, mom, but don’t expect X-ray vision! .

Are Carrots Good for Your Eyes?

During World War II, British Royal Air Force pilots first began using radar to target and shoot down enemy planes.Carrots are a rich source of beta carotene and lutein, which are antioxidants that can help prevent eye damage caused by free radicals.Free radicals are compounds that can lead to cellular damage, aging, and chronic illnesses, including eye diseases, when their numbers become too high ( 1 ).Yellow carrots contain the most lutein, which may help prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition in which your vision is gradually blurred or lost. .

True or False: Eating Carrots Improves Vision

Standard, well-balanced diets in the developed world generally contain a sufficient amount of vitamin A, and eating more carrots will not make a big enough difference to affect eyesight.The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics from 1988-1994, found that most Americans take in the amount of vitamin A recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM).More recent data collected from 1999-2000 found that the average adult continues to get enough vitamin A, taking in around 3300 IU per day.No benefits or risks are associated with eating extra carrots, although over-consuming beta-carotene can turn your skin orange or yellow (carotemia).A recent study investigated the effect of providing nightblind, pregnant Nepali women with vitamin A, some in supplement form and others in foods like carrots or liver.Recent studies in developed countries have shown that older adults, who are at risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), may benefit from a diet rich in antioxidants including beta-carotene.A study conducted in Rotterdam, the Netherlands from 1990-2004 found that antioxidant-rich foods may slow the onset of macular degeneration.According to the study, consuming high amounts of beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, and zinc was associated with a substantially reduced risk of AMD in elderly patients.Also, there is no evidence that excessive carrot consumption prevents macular degeneration or other diseases affecting vision at any age.During World War II, the British Royal Air Force invented the myth tying carrots to clear, sharp vision as a way to explain the sudden increase in Nazi bombers being shot down.Although there is a grain of truth to the claim, most people will not experience positive changes in their vision from eating carrots unless they have a vitamin A deficiency.Haskell MJ, Pandey P, Graham JM, et al. Recovery from impaired dark adaptation in nightblind pregnant Nepali women who receive small daily doses of vitamin A as amaranth leaves, carrots, goat liver, vitamin A-fortified rice, or retinyl palmitate.van Leeuwen R, Boekhoorn S, Vingerling JR, et al. Dietary intake of antioxidants and risk of age-related macular degeneration.

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Do Carrots Really Improve Your Eyesight?

Maybe the ends justify the means, but when the kids grow up they probably question, "Why am I not as strong as Popeye when I ate a whole lot more spinach than he did?".Actually, since the Middle Ages, carrots have been heralded as miracle vegetables and were thought to cure anything from snakebites to STDs.These orange root vegetables were not associated with strong eyesight until centuries later during World War II.The British Royal Air Force wove a fabricated tale about skilled fighter pilot John "Cats' Eyes" Cunningham, saying that he attributed his excellent night vision to a steady diet of carrots.The Royal Air Force was actually utilizing radar to locate German bombers before they reached the English Channel (Source: How Stuff Works).Optical deformities like astigmatism, conditions like strabismus and diseases like glaucoma cannot be corrected by eating Bugs Bunny's food of choice. .

Tips to prevent vision loss

Follow these simple guidelines for maintaining healthy eyes well into your golden years.When it comes to common vision problems, some people don’t realize they could see better with glasses or contact lenses.This information will help to determine if you’re at higher risk for developing an eye disease or condition.But eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables—particularly dark leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, or collard greens—is important for keeping your eyes healthy, too.i Research has also shown there are eye health benefits from eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut.Most protective eyewear lenses are made of polycarbonate, which is 10 times stronger than other plastics.Many eye care providers sell protective eyewear, as do some sporting goods stores.Research has linked smoking to an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and optic nerve damage, all of which can lead to blindness.ii, iii.Sunglasses are a great fashion accessory, but their most important job is to protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.If you spend a lot of time at the computer or focusing on any one thing, you sometimes forget to blink and your eyes can get fatigued.To avoid the risk of infection, always wash your hands thoroughly before putting in or taking out your contact lenses.When protective eyewear is required as a part of your job, make a habit of wearing the appropriate type at all times, and encourage your coworkers to do the same.The relationship of dietary carotenoid with vitamin A, E, and C intake with age-related macular degeneration in a case-control study.iii U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General.

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Beyond Carrots: 5 Foods for Healthy Eyes

Other nutrients in addition to beta-carotene, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc, vitamins C and E and omega-3 fatty acids, help protect your eyes, especially as you age. .

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