Junk Food Diet Leaves Teen Deaf & Blind

Junk Food Diet Leaves Teen Deaf & Blind

A teenager in the United Kingdom described as a "fussy eater" partially lost his vision due to a strict diet of Pringles, French fries, white bread, processed ham and sausage. When the problems started he seemed, on the outside, like a health 14-year-old boy. Scientists also showed concern- suggesting that the condition could become more prevalent in the future, given the widespread consumption of "junk food" at the expense of more nutritious options.

The low vitamin D likely caused the weak bones, but the other deficiencies, the authors wrote, "likely contributed to the patient's vision and hearing loss".

The boy, 17, who can not be named, went years without eating fruit or vegetables because he was a "fussy eater".

His family practitioner first prescribed him injections to treat a vitamin B12 deficiency and told him to change his diet when he came in reporting "tiredness", but the boy did not keep with the treatment, nor did he change his diet, according to the case study.

"Nutritional optic neuropathy should be considered in any patient with unexplained vision symptoms and poor diet, regardless of BMI", they added.

Researchers from Bristol Eye Hospital publish the extraordinary case report in Annals of Internal Medicine. Deficiency in B12 can damage the optic nerve, disrupting the signal that travels from the eye to the brain.

The unidentified patient told doctors he had only eaten fries from the fish and chip shop, Pringles potato chips, white bread, slices of processed ham and sausage since elementary school, and he avoided foods with certain textures. While tests revealed he was anemic and had low vitamin B12 levels, his doctor didn't notice the teen's severe lack of nutrition - likely because the adolescent had "no visible signs of malnutrition", according to ScienceDaily.

'Fussy eater' (17) left blind and deaf after diet of chips, sausages and crisps

Dr Atan said: "The conditions remained undiagnosed for several years".

The 17-year old from Bristol suffered from the little known condition "avoidant-restrictive food intake disorder" (ARFID) since primary school.

When asked about his diet by doctors, the teenage boy said that he doesn't eat food with certain textures. They diagnosed him with nutritional optic neuropathy, which while treatable if caught early, can cause fibres in the optic nerve to die and any damage to become permanent. His vision stabilised but didn't improve, the case study says.

However, even fussy eating that's severely restricted to cheap, nutritionally empty junk foods and that causes multiple vitamin deficiencies is an eating disorder, and children should be seen by a doctor, Atan and colleagues caution.

It was he was only eating that type of food and nothing else.

Atan said any parents with a picky-eating child should not worry about them developing vision loss as such a selective diet doesn't tend to last.

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