Blinded by Junk: UK Teen Loses Vision After Years of Poor Diet

Apparently, a junk food diet can cause blindness.

In fact, a new case proves it’s possible.  

After years of feasting on nothing more than French fries, white bread, ham slices, sausage, and potato chips, a 17-year-old boy in the UK went blind from it.  All according to a new study from the University of Bristol in the Annals of Internal Medicine.  

Three years earlier, the teen – said to be a fussy eater – first began complaining about health problems, including exhaustion.  So, the doctor ran tests only to find anemic conditions, and severely low B12 levels. That lead to B12 injections.

The doctor even made it clear to him and his parents his diet had to improve.

But as with most teens, advice goes in one ear and out the other.  

A year later, with the same diet, he began to experience hearing loss, and vision problems.  Two years after that, he was legally blind with 20/200 vision in both eyes – permanent vision loss.  

Junk Food Diet Left Out Essential Nutrients for Eye Health

Unfortunately, it was the lack of essential vitamins and other nutrients that took its toll.  Once anemia set in, the teen’s bone mineral density crumbled. Then his vitamin B-12, Vitamin D, copper, and selenium levels all crumbled, creating “nutritional optic neuropathy.”

If such a condition is left untreated, it can lead to permanent vision loss, as highlighted. 

“Nutritional deficiencies are actually quite common, but nutritional blindness is not,” said Denize Atan, one of the authors of the study, as quoted by The Washington Post

“Blindness is an uncommon but serious complication of poor nutrition. This case highlights the impact of diet on visual and physical health, and the fact that calorie intake and BMI are not reliable indicators of nutritional status.”

Sadly, for the teen, he lost sight of what junk food was doing to his overall health.

In the end, we have to remember that children need a wide and varied diet to ensure they receive the correct nutrients for good development.  Even if a child is considered a “fussy eater,” there is a need – especially by the parents—to pick up on issues and correct them immediately.

Rare, this was still a sad case out of the UK that could have been prevented.