Was Mom Right? Is Eating Carrots Good for the Eyes?

Chemistry, Food
From childhood, Mom admonished me, "Eat your carrots! They're good for your eyes." Now, I wore glasses. Later, with Mom's approval, I became an organic chemist. Since I listened to Mom, I eat my carrots. In fact, with lots of butter and salt, I rather enjoy them! But throughout my youth, I always wondered if they really are good for our vision. Here's what I learned. Carrot Chemistry Carrots contain the organic compound β-carotene. It's chemical structure is seen in the image below. The chemical formula of β-carotene is C40H56. In addition to imparting the orange color to a carrot, if a molecule is split down the middle and the cleaved double bond is hydrated for both halves, the result is two molecules of retinol, C20H30O. See the image. Carrots…
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