A 17-year-old from Bristol, England, reportedly went blind after his fussy eating habits left him severely malnourished, reported The BBC.
The teenager, who was not named, had been subsisting entirely on French fries, Pringles, and white bread, with an occasional slice of ham or a sausage since elementary school. His picky eating habits led him to develop vitamin deficiencies and malnutrition damage.
Doctors were first made aware of the teen’s health problems after he paid a visit to his family physician at the age of 14 complaining of tiredness and feeling generally unwell. He was diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency and instructed to take supplements; however, he did not follow through with the supplements nor did he improve his diet.
Three years later, he was taken to the Bristol Eye Hospital after suffering progressive sight loss.
Dr. Denize Atan attended to the teenager at the hospital where she ran tests to discover the underlying cause of the sight loss. She found that he had severe vitamin and mineral deficiencies, including B12, copper, selenium, and vitamin D.
“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.”
The doctor went on to explain that the teenager claimed to have an aversion to certain textures of food and could not tolerate them, so chips and fries were really the only types of food that he wanted and felt that he could eat.
While the teenager was not suffering from weight problems, he was found to be severely malnourished from his restrictive diet. In addition to having lost minerals in his bones, an unusual case for a growing boy, he was diagnosed with nutritional optic neuropathy, when the nerve fibers in the optic nerve slowly die off. While treatable when caught early on, the sight loss becomes permanent if left untreated for too long.
“He had blind spots right in the middle of his vision. That means he can’t drive and would find it really difficult to read, watch TV or discern faces. He can walk around on his own though because he has got peripheral vision.”
The sight loss left him legally blind.
In addition to being put on vitamin supplements once again, the teen was referred to a dietitian and a specialist mental health team after being diagnosed with an eating disorder known as avoidant-restrictive food intake disorder.