“What's up, Doc?” are the famous — or infamous — words of America’s favorite bunny, Bugs, who was frequently seen munching on a carrot. Unless it was part of one of his notorious disguises, Bugs rarely ever wore glasses.
Could this lack of spectacles be due to the abundance of carrots in his diet? Not so fast, Bugs, say many eye health experts.
Carrots may not necessarily make your eyesight better. But they may help with certain nutritional deficiencies which can be attributed to weakening eyesight, because carrots contain the carotenoid beta-carotene, according to LiveStrong.com.
“Carotenoids turn into a usable form of vitamin A called retinol in the body after ingestion. Retinol is one type of vitamin A, a group of compounds that act as antioxidants, that removes damaging free radicals from the cells of the eyes and other parts of the body,” LiveStrong.com said.
And beta-carotene may have other health benefits, according to GoodHousekeeping.com. “Beta carotene is a provitamin the body converts into vitamin A, is a powerful antioxidant that has been celebrated for its possible ability to fight cancer. It's thought to play a role protecting cells, boosting the immune system, and helping to keep the reproductive system healthy.”
In fact, during World War II lots of carrot eyesight propaganda was circulating amongst the British. Many believed that carrots could be a hidden weapon in night vision warfare, according to HowStuffWorks.com.
“The British Royal Air Force published a story that said skilled fighter pilot John 'Cats' Eyes' Cunningham could thank a steady diet of carrots for his night vision flying prowess. In response to the story, many British people began to grow and eat more carrots. They wanted to improve their vision so that they could see better during the compulsory blackouts that were common during World War II,” HowStuffWorks.com said.
Maintenance may be the key idea in protecting vision health with a healthy diet inclusive of foods such as carrots rich in beta-carotene. According to HealthEating.sfgate.com, “There is no magic food or supplement that can improve your eyesight.