Vitamin A helps improve visual health, but does not cure refractive errors. We’ve heard since childhood that drinking carrot juice will protect us from wearing glasses, but specialists believe it has no scientific base. Of course, it does not mean that carrot has no effect on visual health. We have heard or read all these, and asked ourselves why we do not go to an eye doctor and ask him about the effect of eating carrot or drinking its juice on visual acuity. We did go and talked with Dr. Sayyed Mohammadreza Taheri in one of his busy days in Noor Eye Hospital, and he warmly welcomed us. You can read this different interview here.
Like most of my peers and as long as I remember, I have heard that carrot or carrot juice can prevent from being bespectacled. Is this scientific?
[Doctor laughs] Have you ever seen a person with refractive errors who has corrected them by eating carrots or drinking carrot juice?!
But they say carrot has vitamin A and this vitamin affects visual health.
Yes, carrot is rich with vitamin A and beta carotene, which changes to vitamin A in our body.
Well, that’s it! You confirmed it. Vitamin A guarantees visual health.
It seems you don’t listen to me. Visual health is way different from correcting refractive errors. Vitamin A, C and antioxidants affect health and correct function of the eye especially retina. Vitamin A, especially, affects the surface and function of retina. Lack of vitamin A causes night blindness. Antioxidants, also, slow the aging process of tissues including retina. But it is not right to say whoever drinks carrot juice does not need to wear glasses.
So, eating carrots slows the aging process of retina and is helpful for visual health?
Yes, in addition to carrot, liver is rich with hormones, vitamin A, B and D. any orange or yellow vegetable is effective in retina function and slowing its aging process.
Well, from now on, I’ll drink several glasses of carrot juice so my retina gets old later.
No, that’s not right. Everything has a limit. Drinking too much carrot juice makes the skin and sclera (the white of the eye) look orange or yellow. Drinking a glass of carrot juice every day or every other day is sufficient at any age. Too much of anything is harmful, even vitamins.
Why do some people add some milk or olive oil in their carrot juice?
Vitamin A is among fat soluble vitamins, so they will be absorbed better if taken with milk or olive oil. Those with digestive problems or those whose pancreas do not secrete well cannot absorb fat, so it’s better they drink milk instead of carrot.
When is the best time to drink carrot juice?
It does not matter, but vitamins are absorbed better in the morning. But I stress that none of the vitamins affect visual acuity or refractive errors, and only slow the aging process.