Teen Goes Blind From Eating Hot Chips, White Bread And Pringles
A 17-year-old teenager in the U.K. has suffered permanent blindness, and doctors claim his poor diet is to blame.
The teenager -- a fussy eater who told doctors he had eaten nothing but hot chips, white bread, Pringles, processed ham and sausage since primary school -- lost his vision due to severe vitamin deficiencies and malnutrition.
His case was published in the Annals of Internal Medical journal on Tuesday, with doctors warning of the lesser-known visual complications of a junk food diet.
The unnamed teenager first visited his family physician when he was 14, complaining of tiredness, researchers from the Bristol Eye Hospital reported.
Aside from being a "fussy eater", he had a normal Body Mass Index (BMI) and was taking no medications.
Blood tests showed the teenager had low vitamin B12 and macrocytic anaemia -- a type of anaemia that causes unusually large red blood cells -- which his GP treated with vitamin B12 injections, while offering dietary advice.
By 15, the teenager developed sensoineural hearing loss -- caused by damage to the inner ear or the nerve from the ear to the brain -- along with vision symptoms. But doctors found no cause.
Two years later, the teenager's vision had become progressively worse, to the point of blindness.
While not over or underweight, he was severely malnourished.
Further tests revealed he had vitamin B12 deficiency along with low copper levels, a high zinc level and markedly reduced vitamin D levels and bone mineral density.
Doctors diagnosed him with nutritional optic neuropathy -- a condition that is treatable if diagnosed early. But by the time the teenager was properly diagnosed, his vision was permanently damaged.
Dr Denise Atan, who treated him at the hospital, said he met the criteria for being registered blind, according to the BBC.
"He had blind spots right in the middle of his vision," Atan said.
"That means he can't drive and would find it really difficult to read, watch TV or discern faces."
She said such cases are uncommon, but warned parents should be aware of all of the harms associated with fussy eating -- and seek help when needed.