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Dublin: 5 °C Friday 17 January, 2020
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Teenage 'fussy eater' left blind by poor diet

The boy’s diet consisted of French fries, Pringles, white bread, processed ham slices and sausages.

Image: Shutterstock/GreenCam1

THE RISKS OF eating poorly have been brought into stark relief by the case of a teenager who went blind because his diet was so bad.

The link between poor nutrition and bad health, obesity and cancer have been long-established but new research shows that it can also permanently damage the nervous system, particularly vision.

Researchers from Bristol Eye Hospital in the UK have published a report into the case of a teen who first visited his family physician at age 14 complaining of tiredness.

The boy wasn’t overweight and wasn’t on any medication – however tests revealed that he was anaemic and had low vitamin B12 levels. He was treated with vitamin injections and given dietary advice. 

A year later his condition had become progressively worse and he was suffering from hearing loss and vision symptoms, but no cause was found.

By age 17, the boy’s vision had deteriorated to the point of blindness.

Physicians probed his nutrition and tests revealed that he had very poor bone density and a strikingly low vitamin D level. He was also suffering from a vitamin B12 deficiency, low copper and selenium levels and a high zinc level.

The teenager confessed that since primary school his diet consisted of French fries, Pringles, white bread, processed ham slices and sausages.

By the time his condition was diagnosed his vision was permanently impaired.

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Ceimin Burke

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