Getting enough vitamin A is essential to maintain eye health and carrots are an excellent natural source of vitamin A, but eating a diet overloaded with carrots or other sources of vitamin A won’t improve your eyesight.
Eye health and good eyesight are different things. Healthy eyes can still need glasses to clearly focus on near or far objects because the shape of the cornea or the eyeball causes nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. No amount of vitamin A will change that.
Vitamin A and Eye Health
Vitamin A is converted into rhodopsin, the photopigment in the rods of your retina that enable vision in low-light. In humans and many animals rhodopsin is required for vision in dim light.
Rhodopsin converts light into electrical nerve signals within the photoreceptor rods and those electrical signals are sent to the brain via the optic nerve.
Vitamin A also supports the healthy functioning of the eye’s conjunctival membranes and the corneas.
Vitamin A deficiencies are rare in the U.S. and other developed countries. Most diets in developed countries contain adequate amounts of vitamin A and vitamin A can be stored by the body in the liver.
Excellent Sources of Vitamin A
Sweet potatoes, spinach, pumpkin, carrots, milk, cheese, cantaloupe, mangos, eggs, and sweet red peppers are all excellent sources of vitamin A.
Vitamins and Oxidative Stress
The human body produces oxygen-derived free radicals as part of the metabolic process, part of breathing and burning energy, and free radicals are essential to life, but their number must be balanced out with antioxidants for optimal health.
A diet rich in antioxidants such as vitamins A, E, and carotenoids such as beta carotene, lycopene, and lutein will help your body scavenge free radicals, terminating their chain reactions before they cause cellular damage.
There is a peptide (glutathione) and some antioxidant enzymes produced by the body specifically to scavenge free radicals, but consuming a diet of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, will also be a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, so eating lots of high-antioxidant fruits and vegetables will not only add to your body’s antioxidant levels, but give your overall health a boost.
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