Carrots and Our Eyesight: Fact vs. Fiction

If you’ve ever scarfed down all of the carrots on your plate in the hope that you’d one day be able to ditch your eyeglasses, you may be a victim of wartime propaganda.

Wondering what eating carrots has to do with propaganda? We’ll explain below when we reveal the truth about carrots and our eyesight.

Eating carrots wont improve your sight. alkaway.com .au  Carrots and Our Eyesight: Fact vs. Fiction Photo

Eating carrots won't improve your sight. (alkaway.com.au)

FACT: Carrots are good for eye health.

Carrots contain beta-carotene, a substance that is converted by the body into vitamin A. Vitamin A helps protect the cornea, making it an essential part of guarding against conditions like dry eye, corneal ulcers, cataracts, and macular degeneration – conditions that can contribute to vision loss. In fact, although uncommon in the developed world, an extreme deficiency of vitamin A can cause blindness.

But can vitamin A therefore improve your vision? The answer brings us to our propaganda explanation.

FICTION: Carrots can improve your vision.

While the abundance of vitamin A found in carrots is certainly an important contributor to the health of our eyes, it can’t improve our ability to see – except for in those rare cases where a lack of vitamin A is the cause of your vision loss.

The belief that eating carrots can help us see better actually stems from the World War II era. The British began using something called Airborne Interception Radar – a new technology at the time – and it greatly improved the Royal Air Force’s ability to shoot down Nazi bomber planes at night.

Not wanting to divulge their new technology, the British began leaking stories to the press about how eating carrots greatly improved their fighter pilots’ sight, making them more successful in their missions.

The falsehood that eating carrots will improve your vision became truly ingrained in the minds of the public when people started growing and eating carrots in great quantities, believing that it would help them to see better during the blackouts that were commonplace at that time.

So, if you notice your vision slipping, don’t just reach for a carrot stick; visit Vitals and schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist who’s right for you. 

Sources: snopes.com and tlc.howstuffworks.com