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.
When I read the quote, I had to do a double-take to confirm I wasn't reading something from @TheOnion
— Sam Cooper (@SamCooperUSA) September 4, 2019
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.”
If another person sends me that article about the kid who went blind from only eating chips pic.twitter.com/NlV8I0pYEW
— Ashley J Kirk (@ajk_) September 5, 2019
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.
Meh, you don’t need eyes to carry on eating those things
— James (@JayDoubleYou14) September 3, 2019
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.”
— Cindy Vien (@CindyVien) September 4, 2019
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.
“They may take our lives, but they can never take our Pringles!!!”
— Bob Meyers (@TuBob_Shakur) September 4, 2019
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.
I now eat broccoli Once a week to prevent this ????
— Haroldinho (@yeahyeahbigtime) September 3, 2019
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.”
This is an extreme case of self-imposed dietary restriction that holds no generalizable lessons.
— Bruce Lambert (@bruce_lambert) September 4, 2019
Nothing but fries, potato chips, white bread, and processed meats? Blindness will be the least of his problems if that diet doesn’t change. And where were the parents?
— Beth (@_Beth___) September 4, 2019
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.
Y'all… WHAT WE EAT IS IMPORTANT. What we feed our kids is important. Yes, this is an extreme example but please #eattherainbow! "Teenager went blind after only eating fries, chips, white bread, sausages and ham since elementary school" https://t.co/RP9cN9S5AD
— Elizabeth Meade, MD (@EMeadeMD) September 5, 2019
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.”
Following a good diet and healthy habits are essential for our general health, as well as for our visual health. This is an extreme but real case of what can happen to you if you maintain an unhealthy diet for a long period of time.https://t.co/eUC6i9X49Q
— Inst. de la Màcula (@ins_macula) September 5, 2019
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