(Gray News) – A picky teen eater from the United Kingdom ate his way to blindness, a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests.
“Since starting secondary school, the patient had consumed a limited diet of chips, crisps, white bread, and some processed pork,” said a press release from the University of Bristol in England. “By the time the patient’s condition was diagnosed, the patient had permanently impaired vision.”
The diet left the boy with a vitamin B12 deficiency, low copper and selenium levels, a high zinc level, and markedly reduced vitamin D level and bone mineral density.
The researchers concluded that the patient’s “junk food” diet and limited consumption of vitamins and minerals caused nutritional optic neuropathy – a condition that can lead to permanent structural damage of the optic nerve and blindness.
But it can also be easily treated if caught early.
“Our vision has such an impact on quality of life, education, employment, social interactions, and mental health,” said Dr. Denize Atan with the Bristol School of Medicine.
“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.”
To prevent similar cases, researchers urged doctors to ask patients about their dietary history as part of routine examinations.