Do Carrots Improve Your Vision?

Carrots do contain beta carotene which our bodies convert to vitamin A and vitamin A is essential for low-light vision, but if you aren’t suffering from a vitamin A deficiency then eating carrots won’t further improve your night vision.

Night blindness, medically termed “nyctalopia” is the inability to see in at night or specifically, in low-light. It has several causes and one of them is a vitamin A deficiency.

Vitamin A deficiencies are rare in the U.S. and other developed countries. The diets consumed in developed countries contain adequate amounts of vitamin A and vitamin A can be stored by the body in the liver.

How the Improved Night Vision Claim Started

During World War II the UK Ministry of Food had an oversupply of carrots on their hands, so they tried to create a demand for carrots. They created Doctor Carrot—a carrot carrying a doctor’s bag with “VIT•A” on it. The UK Ministry of Food also created ads claiming RAF pilots were improving their night vision by eating carrots.

Their messages worked and consumption of carrots increased. Many people thought that eating carrots might help them see better during blackouts. So, if you were ever told as a child to eat carrots so you could see better at night, this is where it all started. 

If you’re interested in more carrot history click here to visit the World Carrot Museum. Yes, there really is a carrot museum.

Your Eyes Need Vitamin A

Getting enough vitamin A in your diet is essential to keeping your eyes healthy and carrots are an excellent natural source, but there are many other dietary sources. Sweet potatoes, spinach, pumpkin, milk, cheese, cantaloupe, mangos, eggs, and sweet red peppers are all excellent sources of vitamin A.

Your eyes need vitamin A to create rhodopsin in the rods of your retina to enable vision in low-light. Rhodopsin is found in the retinas of animals and humans and is the pigment-containing sensor protein that converts light into an electrical signal.

Vitamin A also supports the healthy functioning of the conjunctival membranes and the cornea.

Eye Health vs. Eyesight

Healthy eyes can still need glasses to clearly focus on either near or far objects because the shape of the cornea or the eyeball.  Nearsightedness and farsightedness can be corrected with LASIK surgery because that surgery reshapes the cornea. No amount of vitamin A will change the shape of your corneas and the way they refract light.

Eating for Good Eye Health

Eat a variety of foods high in vitamins A, E, C, along with foods high in lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc, and omega 3 fatty acids.  A partial list of foods containing those vitamins and nutrients follows:

  • Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, collards
  • Broccoli, peas, zucchini, tomatoes
  • Oily fish such as salmon and tuna
  • Eggs, nuts, beans
  • Oranges and other citrus fruits
  • Sweet potatoes, carrots, mangos

Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Retina Specialist
Virginia and Washington D.C.


Retinal Detachment | Surgery

A retinal detachment is potentially blinding and will require surgical repair. Despite “success,” visual outcomes will vary depending upon the length of time the retina has been detached and the area of involvement.

The retina is the portion of your eye that contains photoreceptors that respond to light and send visual signals to the brain. Without a functioning retina the brain loses its connection to visual signals from the eye. 

The retina can be detached by a traumatic eye injury, but the most common cause is aging changes such as a thinning retina (lattice degeneration) or changes within the eye’s vitreous humor.

The vitreous humor is a clear gelatinous substance that fills the eye. The vitreous is integral to the normal embryonic development of the eye and its structures. As we age the vitreous humor can shrink and change consistency. As a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD), it can sometimes pull on the retina and tear it. Diabetes and some retinal diseases can also cause retinal detachment.

Retinal Detachment is an Emergency

Whatever the cause, a detached retina is an emergency and must be reattached soon after the detachment to preserve vision. It is an emergency because the retina begins to deteriorate if it is detached too long and every attempt is to prevent the retinal detachment from involving the macula, the functional center of the retina.

Chronic and large detachments have a much worse visual prognosis despite successful anatomic repair.

Symptoms of Retinal Detachment

  • Sudden appearance of many new “floaters” (floating shapes) in your field of vision. It can appear as a shower of black dots, which are blood cells from the retinal tear.
  • Flashes of bright light
  • Loss of vision as though a black curtain has come down across a portion of your field of view

Retinal Detachment Surgery

If there is no retinal detachment, but only a small retinal hole or retinal tear in your retina your eye doctor can repair it with a laser or a sub-freezing probe. This procedure can be done in your eye doctor’s office.

If the retina has detached, you will need surgery to reattach it. There are three common surgeries used to reattach the retina:

Pneumatic retinopexy is also a relatively simple fix even though it is a surgical procedure. It can also be done in your eye doctor’s office. Your eye is numbed, and a gas bubble is injected into your eye that will press against the retina and hold it in place. A laser or sub-freezing probe is also used to seal the retina at the margin of the tear.

Scleral buckling is a surgery to band (retain) the outside of the eye (sclera) from top to bottom. This banding will compress the eye and push the retina back into place where it will reattach to its blood supply.

Vitrectomy is the surgical removal of the vitreous humor. The surgeon will remove any scar tissue and seal retinal tears and then fills the eye with saline, air or a gas bubble. The vitreous does not regenerate, but your eye can function with the substitute for it.

A retinal specialist may often use a combination of these techniques to perform surgery for retinal detachment.


More than 90% of retinal reattachments are successful. If the detachment has not detached the central portion of the retina (macula) that is responsible for fine-detail vision, the restored vision will return to near normal. One reason a detached retina is an emergency is to repair it before the macula detaches.


There is no way to prevent age-related retinal detachments, but if you are middle-aged or older a yearly, comprehensive, dilated eye examination may be able to identify eye problems in their early stages.

Diabetics should avoid wide swings between high and low blood sugar levels as a preventive measure for retinal detachments caused by diabetic retinopathy. Diabetics should have a comprehensive, dilated eye exam at least once a year and every six months if retinopathy is detected. 

Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Retina Specialist
Virginia and Washington D.C.


If you have a retinal tear

Article Image Vitrectomy to Treat Retinal Tear | Retina Specialist | Randall Wong MD

If you have a retinal tear, how will your retina specialist treat the tear? There are 3 options: laser, cryotherapy or operate.

Untreated retinal tears can cause a retinal detachment. Retinal detachments are potentially blinding and require surgery. The goal of treatment is to prevent retinal detachments from developing.

Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD)

A posterior vitreous detachment is the usual cause of a retinal tear. Retinal holes, associated with lattice degeneration, can also lead to a retinal detachment and are treated identically to retinal tears.

Acute flashes and floaters are the most common symptoms of a PVD and should alert your eye doctor/retina specialist to look for a retinal tear.

Laser Treatment

Laser photocoagulation is the first choice of treatment. It is performed in the office and does not require anesthesia. In most cases treatment takes a few minutes. The goal is to completely encircle the tear with laser burns. The burns cause the retina to scar thereby preventing fluid to migrate underneath the retina.

Not all tears can be treated with laser, hence, cryotherapy and vitrectomy are viable options.


In order for a retinal tear to be treated with laser, the entire tear must be visible. There are situations where the tear can not be viewed completely:

Vitreous hemorrhage, often associated with retinal tears, can literally block the laser light.

Dense cataract can also absorb or block the laser energy from reaching the retina.

The edge of intraocular lenses from previous cataract surgery often block or distort the peripheral retina (location of most tears) making laser treatment impossible.

Anteriorly located in the extreme peripheral retina often can not be viewed without special instrumentation and techniques making laser difficult.

Cryotherapy combines a different viewing system along with physical manipulation of the eye to treat the retinal tear from the outside in. A cryotherapy probe is placed moved along the outside of the eye until it is adjacent (underneath) the retinal tear. The freezing induces scar formation similar to that of the laser.


In cases where neither laser nor cryotherapy are possible, vitrectomy can be an excellent solution. Vitrectomy is the basic surgery performed by a retina specialist. A special laser probe can be introduced inside the eye to laser the retina tear.

Regardless of modality: laser, freezing or vitrectomy, the results are equally the same at preventing a retinal detachment.

Follow the advice of your retina specialist or eye doctor.

Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Retina Specialist
Virginia and Washington D.C.

“Other” Eye Conditions My Opinion Uncategorized

Meaningful Memorial Day

Article featured image

Today, the United States celebrates Memorial Day, a day where we remember our veterans and their families who have lost their lives fighting to protect their fellow Americans.

At the same time, we want to remember all of those who have lost their lives to the pandemic and remember those on the frontline and our essential workers around the world.

Memorial Day | Don’t Say Thank You

Memorial Day became a federal holiday only in 1971, but “Decoration Day” had been celebrated since the Civil War to commemorate lives lost in the Civil War. As America became engaged in additional wars, more veterans lost their lives and Memorial Day is now celebrated on the last Monday of May.

“Have a Meaningful Day.”

While the exact origin of Memorial Day is uncertain, records show that the first “Memorial Day” was created by a group of freed slaves in Charleston, South Carolina. Federal records designate Waterloo, New York as the official birthplace of the holiday.

Veterans Day in the United States is similar to Memorial Day in that we acknowledge and celebrate our veterans of war. During Veterans Day, it is appropriate to thank our veterans for their service and sacrifice. During Memorial Day, it is appropriate to wish that a veteran have a “meaningful day” as they are likely to be remembering their fallen comrades.

3 PM local time is designated as a National Moment of Remembrance.


Around the world, as the United States approaches 100,000 deaths due to coronavirus, we all pay respects to those we have lost from the pandemic. We also acknowledge and thank the bravery of our frontline workers and essential personnel who risk their health and safety to keep the rest of us safe.

Our frontline workers keep us safe from COVID-19. Our essential workers keep us safe from COVID-19 and keep our communities functioning.

In the United States alone, the number of lives lost to the coronavirus is greater than the number of lives lost during the Vietnam and Korean Wars combined (see chart).

Thank you.

Have a safe and meaningful day.

Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Retina Specialist
Virginia and Washington D.C.

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