Forget carrots... when it comes to protecting your eyes, try some tea instead.

Just be sure to make it green.

Green tea is packed with a fantastic antioxidant called catechins, and a new study shows how these vision-friendly molecules make their way from the stomach right up to your eye, where they are absorbed by the lens, retina and other tissue.

Researchers fed green tea to lab rats, then analyzed their eye tissue afterwards. They found that the rats' eyes absorbed large amounts of the antioxidants, with the retinas getting the most, and the cornea taking in the least.

The researchers say that green tea's antioxidants appeared to fight off oxidative stress in the eyes for up to 20 hours, according to the study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

That oxidative stress is what ultimately hurts the eye-- leading to vision problems and diseases such as glaucoma.

And that's not the only way green tea can boost your health, because few drinks can pack the punch of this simple brew. Green tea has been linked to weight loss, cancer prevention and stress reduction. It can also help fight depression, battle illness, boost the immune system, reduce the risk of death from pneumonia, and lower your risk for gum disease--and remember, healthy gums are one of the keys to a healthy heart.

Some studies have even found that green tea drinkers live longer.

Not bad for something that tastes great hot or iced.

For the best results, squeeze a little lemon and use a drop –-just a drop--of sugar. This simple, common combination can triple the amount of the antioxidants absorbed by the bloodstream in each sip.

And if you're looking to protect your eyes through nutrition, be sure you're getting enough vitamins C and E, zinc, copper, lutein, zeaxanthin and the omega-3 fatty acids.

That's a lot to track, so you can often find these nutrients in supplements. But they're also common enough in food, so it's not too hard to get them from a good and varied diet.

Then, for a delicious way to end your meal, set your eyes on a steaming mug of green tea.