(CMR) An unidentified teenage boy has lost his sight because of a poor diet of chips, white bread and fries.
The case was published recently in a medical journal and despite being an extreme case is demonstrating the fact that diet is playing a critical role in the overall health of people across the globe.
Scientists from the University of Bristol examined the case of a young patient whose extremely picky eating led to blindness, and have warned of the dangers of a poor diet.
He wasn’t taking any medication, had a normal BMI and height, and showed no visible signs of malnutrition.
Doctors discovered low vitamin B12 levels and anemia, treating the patient with vitamin B12 injections and offering dietary advice.
One year later there were signs of hearing loss and vision symptoms, but doctors did not find the cause. His vision had worsened to the point of blindness by 17 years of age, and doctors identified vitamin B12 deficiency, low copper and selenium levels, a high zinc level, reduced vitamin D level and bone level density, according to a statement from the University of Bristol.
Researchers from Bristol Medical School and the Bristol Eye Hospital examined the case and concluded that the patient suffered nutritional optic neuropathy, a dysfunction of the optic nerve.
In developed countries it is mostly caused by bowel problems or medication that interferes with the absorption of nutrients, and it is rarely caused entirely by poor diet because food is readily available.
In some places, malnutrition caused by poverty, war and drought is linked to higher rates of nutritional optic neuropathy, according to a statement.
The condition is reversible if treated early but can lead to blindness if no action is taken.