A now 16-year-old boy in Australia has reportedly suffered some permanent eye damage because of a lack of Vitamin A in his chicken-centered, vegetable-free diet.
From ages 5 or 6 to 14, the youngster reportedly subsisted on “chicken, potatoes, dry bread and coke” to the point where he was going blind, the Sydney Morning Herald recently reported about a diet that is familiar to many American teens as well.
“We were terrified that he was going to lose his sight,” Cian Moore’s mother said.
After the family consulted many different doctors and went through a battery of tests, an eye specialist ultimately determined that his sight issue was the result of a Vitamin A deficiency, a form of malnutrition responsible for blindness because eye cells don’t mature normally, and a condition found primarily in developing countries.
Given the food intake involved, those suffering from this condition don’t appear to be suffering from any form of starvation, so doctors ordinarily seldom inquire about their diet. “It’s something about this combination of chips and Coke that you don’t get your nutrients, but you feel full,” said Sydney ophthalmologist Stephanie Watson who almost immediately diagnosed the boy’s condition, a malady that she became familiar with while studying medicine in Kenya, but a rarity in Australia.
TomoNews claims the boy was eating KFC all the time, but the Herald made no mention of the fried chicken franchise products as being a factor.
In a Facebook post last year, Kerry Moore described what happened and had a message for parents and their kids everywhere when they gather around the dinner table:
“3 years ago our son Cian started to complain about dry eyes and a gritty feeling. Drops did not seem to be helping. Long story short, for 3 years we have been down on a scary road as we thought our son was losing his sight. I don’t even want to tell you how that feels. Numerous eye appointments until we found supposedly the best in Perth. Eventually we were told that it was nerve damage and there was nothing to be done. He would have to live with limited vision and drops. We had no idea if this was degenerative. Luckily we are also very stubborn and hate being told no. So very very flukely my parents were watching a show on ABC with a Professor who was having dealings with this. Flash to December 2015 – Sydney. Our appointment was on Friday past. We now have an answer – Vitamin A deficiency. Best news is that a lot of the damage is reversible. You know when you tell your kids to eat their vegetables….EAT YOUR VEGETABLES KIDS!!!..Professor Stephanie Watson….you are our hero!”
The teen now ingests Vitamin A supplements and reluctantly eats vegetables. “The vision in his right eye has almost completely recovered, but the damage to his left eye is permanent,” the Herald added.
According to the World Health Organization, low-income countries are most at risk for Vitamin A deficiency. It often occurs in Africa and Southeast Asia and particularly among young children and women who are pregnant. The organization claims that about 250 million preschool kids are Vitamin A deficient and that up to 500,000 of them go blind every year.
“Vitamin A is found in many foods, including leafy green vegetables, orange vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin), eggs, and cantaloupes,” the American Academy of Opthalmology explained. In addition to warding off vision loss and night blindness, “Your eye also needs vitamin A to nourish other parts of your eye, including the cornea, the clear covering on the front of your eye. Without enough vitamin A, your eyes cannot produce enough moisture to keep them properly lubricated.”
[Featured Image by bart78/Shutterstock]