Does Eating Carrots Improve Your Eyesight?

When it comes to health, especially eye health, there’s a common belief that carrots offer substantial benefits. This idea has been ingrained in popular culture for decades, often reinforced by parents telling their children to eat carrots for better vision. But is there any truth to this claim, or is it merely a myth perpetuated over time?


Photo by Chu Chup Hinh

Origins of the Carrot-Eye Health Connection

The association between carrots and eye health can be traced back to World War II propaganda. British authorities spread the story that their pilots had excellent night vision due to a diet high in carrots. This propaganda was intended to hide the invention and success of radar technology from the Germans. Thus, the notion that carrots improve vision, particularly night vision, gained widespread acceptance.

The Role of Vitamin A

Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is a precursor to vitamin A. Vitamin A is crucial for maintaining healthy vision, particularly in low-light conditions. It helps the retina function smoothly and is necessary for the production of rhodopsin, a pigment that enables the eyes to adjust to darkness.

Myth vs Reality

While carrots do contain nutrients beneficial for eye health, such as beta-carotene, the idea that they alone can significantly improve vision is oversimplified. In reality, various factors contribute to eye health, including genetics, overall diet, and lifestyle choices. Consuming a balanced diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables, not just carrots, is key to supporting optimal eye function.


Photo by Engin Akyurt

Scientific Perspective

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, while vitamin A deficiency can lead to vision problems, consuming excess amounts of vitamin A or beta-carotene from supplements is unlikely to provide additional benefits once the body’s requirements are met. Furthermore, there is no substantial evidence to suggest that consuming large quantities of carrots will lead to superior vision beyond what a balanced diet would provide.

Other Nutrients for Eye Health

In addition to beta-carotene, other nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin found in leafy greens, eggs, and other colorful fruits and vegetables play significant roles in maintaining good eyesight. These nutrients act as antioxidants and are believed to reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration progression.


Photo by Ella Olsson


While carrots are nutritious and contribute to overall health, they are not a magical cure for poor vision. To maintain healthy eyesight, focus on a varied diet that includes a wide range of colorful fruits and vegetables, and schedule regular eye check-ups with your eye care provider.

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Ivan Yong

Dr. Ivan Yong is an optometrist with over 12 years of experience in the optical industry. He earned his doctorate from the Southern California College of Optometry and has practiced in multiple settings, including private practice, community health, and ophthalmology. Dr. Yong aims to expand access to affordable eyewear and improve eye health worldwide.