Teen's junk food diet caused him to go blind, study reveals

Henrietta Brewer
September 3, 2019

Though nutritional optic neuropathy is rare in developed countries, the University of Iowa documented a case in which a 28-year-old man's diet consisted nearly entirely of 1.9 litres of vodka per day, causing vision problems.

"He had a daily portion of fries from the local fish and chip shop and snacked on Pringles (Kellogg), white bread, processed ham slices and sausage".

Though the 17-year-old was found to have a normal body mass index, doctors also found he was beginning to lose his hearing and was suffering from bone weakness.

Doctors were baffled a year later when the boy developed sensorineural hearing loss, a type of hearing loss arising from problems in the inner ear or cochlea, as well as vision symptoms, as they could find no cause.

If nutritional optic neuropathy is caught early enough, it can be treated.

A TEENAGER has been left blind and partially deaf as a result of his decade-long diet of chips, sausages and crisps.

Scientists from the University of Bristol examined the case of a young patient whose extremely picky eating led to blindness, and have warned of the dangers of a poor diet.

In some places, malnutrition caused by poverty, war and drought is linked to higher rates of nutritional optic neuropathy, according to a statement. Tests showed he was anaemic with low vitamin B12 levels.

Also Read: What Is Junk Food? They suggest the condition could become more prevalent in future, given the widespread consumption of "junk food" at the expense of more nutritious options, and the rising popularity of veganism if the vegan diet is not supplemented appropriately to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency.

"By age 17, the patient's vision had become progressively worse, to the point of blindness", the report mentioned.

A review of his case, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal, found that he was deficient in several key vitamins, including vitamin B12, copper and vitamin D.

The shocking lack of vitamins damaged his optic nerve - which connects the eye to the brain. Optic neuropathy is the medical term for damage to the optic nerve. He is taking vitamin supplements and his colour vision has improved slightly.

Since primary school he suffered from a rare eating disorder, avoidant-restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID). It is estimated that nutritional deficiencies affect approximately 2-billion people worldwide.

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