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Teen Goes Blind on Extreme Junk Food Diet

He developed nutritional optic neuropathy.




A teenager in England suffered vision loss after living on a diet made up largely of french fries and potato chips, according to a new medical report.

The 17-year-old had damage from malnutrition and serious vitamin deficiencies, the BBC reports.

He’d seen a doctor at age 14 for fatigue and was diagnosed with a vitamin B12 deficiency. He was told to take supplement, but he failed to follow the doctor’s orders and did not move to a healthier diet, according to the medical report that appeared in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The case was examined by clinician scientists from Bristol Medical School and the Bristol Eye Hospital.

The boy experienced progressive vision loss and eventually ended up at Bristol Eye Hospital.

Dr. Denize Atan, lead author of the study, was quoted saying, “His diet was essentially a portion of chips from the local fish and chip shop every day.”


“He also used to snack on crisps – Pringles – and sometimes slices of white bread and occasional slices of ham, and not really any fruit and vegetables,” Atan said.

The boy had an “aversion to certain textures of food,” according to the doctor.

It was discovered that he was lacking not only in B12 but also in other nutrients, including vitamin D, copper and selenium. He was described as a “fussy eater” and found to have avoidant-restrictive food intake disorder.

Because of nutritional optic neuropathy, his sight had deteriorated to the point that he could be registered as blind, according to the BBC. Atan said he had blind spots in the middle of his vision, but retained peripheral vision.

The vision loss was described as permanent.

“The researchers concluded that the patient’s junk food diet and limited intake of nutritional vitamins and minerals resulted in the onset of nutritional optic neuropathy,” according to a press release from the University of Bristol. “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.”


Read more at the BBC

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