British teenager loses vision after many years of junk food diet

According to a case report that was published on Monday, Sept. 2, 2019, a British teenager has lost his vision and is suffering from acute hearing loss because of his many, many years of eating junk food.

The report which was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine says that the teen was a fussy eater since he was in elementary school. During a checkup at age 14, he complained to his primary family practice medical practitioner of being tired all the time. Although he was a fussy eater, he seemed well and was on no medications. So his family practice health practitioner advised him on his diet and gave him vitamin B12 shots.

A year later, at 15, he began losing his hearing. The teen was then referred to an ear, nose, and throat specialist. Not too soon after, he started to develop vision problems which worsened over the next two years so that by age 17 his eyesight declined to 20/200. At this level a person is is considered to be legally blind both in the UK and the US.

At this time it was discovered that he had a problem with his optic nerve although tests did not point to any one cause.

However, when healthcare professionals in Bristol, England made investigations into the teens eating habits and nutrition they discovered his bad eating habits which lacked a lot of nutrition. Although he testified that he did not use alcohol, or smoked or did drugs, he did confess to a daily serving of french fries from the nearby fish and chips store and that he more than frequently snacked on white bread, Pringles, sausages and processed ham slices. The teen said he had been on this type of diet since he was in elementary school.

Although nutritional deficiencies can cause vision and hearing loss, in developed countries like the UK, just dietary causes for vision and hearing loss is rare. But for this teen, his nutritional deficiency in many essential vitamins and minerals, especially for B vitamins and copper, did play an essential role in the loss of his vision and hearing.

This young teen was treated by his healthcare professionals with nutritional supplements and although his vision stopped getting worse, it did not improve.

According to the case report, optic nerve damage caused by poor nutrition can potentially be reversed if caught early. However, when it is left untreated it will lead to permanent blindness.

The teen was also referred for mental health counseling as his ‘fussy’ eating restricted to only junk foods resulting in malnutrition deficiencies is a type of eating disorder, the case report says.