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Teen Goes Permanently Blind Due To His Diet Of Potato Chips, White Bread, and French Fries

A teenager from the U.K. is experiencing the negative consequences of a very unhealthy diet.

Near Bristol, an unnamed teenager has suffered permanent blindness after his picky eating led to a diet entirely composed of white bread, french fries, potato chips, and the occasional slice of processed meat.

The young man was examined by scientists at the University of Bristol, who would later file a case report in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Apparently, the young man has been severely restricting the foods he eats since elementary school, with results noticeable as early as the age of 14, when he visited his doctor “complaining of tiredness.

At the time, the teen had a normal BMI, but his doctor diagnosed him with anemia and prescribed him B12 injections to combat his deficiency. Most importantly, the doctor made dietary suggestions that would go unheeded.

A year later, the teen returned to the doctor, complaining of faltering vision. This time, doctors couldn’t find the cause but told him to continue with B12 injections.

Two years later, the 17-year-old’s eyesight was almost non-existent and doctors discovered a plethora of deficiencies, including “B12 deficiency; low copper, Vitamin D and selenium levels; a high zinc level; and reduced bone mineral density.”

After some investigation, researchers at the Bristol Medical School diagnosed the young man with nutritional optic neuropathy, which has caused permanent damage to his sight. If the teen had begun eating healthy earlier, permanent damage may have been avoided, but at a certain point, the blindness becomes irreversible.

In countries without access to nutritious food, the most common causes of nutritional optic neuropathy generally involve bowel disorders or diseases which limit the amount of nutrients the body is able to absorb. It is incredibly rare for a healthy person with regular access to a variety of foods to suffer from the condition.

Dr. Denize Atan, the study’s lead author, commented to Salon:

“Our vision has such an impact on quality of life, education, employment, social interactions and mental health. This case highlights the impact of diet on visual and physical health, and the fact that calorie intake and BMI are not reliable indicators of nutritional status.”

Though still very rare, the researchers also noted optic neuropathy is on the rise worldwide due to the abundance of junk-food as well as the popularity of veganism, which should be supplemented with B12 for health reasons.

The scientists also encouraged doctors to always inquire about their patients’ diets.

“This may avoid a diagnosis of nutritional optic neuropathy being missed or delayed as some associated visual loss can fully recover if the nutritional deficiencies are treated early enough.”

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Written by Collin Gossel

Collin Gossel is a writer and comedian living in Brooklyn, New York, but there are nights when he looks up at the stars and wistfully thinks to himself “there’s got to be more out there…” You can catch Collin improvising new musicals every Tuesday night at the Magnet Theater’s Musical Megawatt, or follow his unfiltered thoughts on Twitter and Instagram @CollinGossel.--