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Contact: Angie Boyd-Chambers, (615) 284-7462, angie.boydchambers@sth.org

Carrots are good for your vision: true or false?

To this day, children are told that carrots are good for their eyes. But is this saying really true? Or is it just another way to get kids to eat their vegetables? The answer is a complicated as it is both a yes and a no. In short, no, you will not receive super human night vision. However, carrots do contain beta-carotene, a substance that converts to vitamin A, which is important for overall eye health.  Some other benefits of the vitamin A received from eating carrots include healthy skin and a healthy immune system. 

The myth of carrots providing super human night vision originated with John Cunningham and the British Royal Air Force. Propaganda was spread throughout the 1940s that the pilot, John “Cats’ Eyes” Cunningham, was able to see and be such a skilled fighter pilot at night due to his routine diet of carrots! This, of course, was not the actual source of his skill, but rather the “radar” technology developed by the UK.  This myth was so wildly believed that British residents began to grow their own carrots in hopes of improving their night vision in the compulsory blackouts during World War II. 

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