Boy, 17, left blind after living off crisps, chips and white bread for ten years
3 September 2019, 10:50 | Updated: 3 September 2019, 11:01
A boy was left seriously ill after avoiding fruit and vegetables since primary school because he didn't like the textures.
Parents are being warned about the dangers of "fussy eaters" after a 17-year-old lost his sight due to his restricted diet.
Since leaving primary school, the teen had been eating only French fries, Pringles and white bread, along with ham and sausages.
The unnamed boy from Bristol went to his doctor when he was 14-years-old after complaining of extreme tiredness and loss of hearing.
His eyesight then began to deteriorate, with his mum revealing he now has no job or social life due to his condition.
She explained: “The first we knew about it was when he began coming home from primary school with his packed lunch untouched.
“I would make him nice sandwiches and put an apple or other fruit in and he wouldn’t eat any of it. His teachers became concerned too.
“His brother and sister have never stopped eating. They love everything. But he was just as fit and healthy as them.
“He has always been skinny so we had no weight concerns. You hear about junk food and obesity all the time – but he was as thin as a rake.”
The case is detailed in a report from Bristol Eye Hospital published in in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Dr Denize Atan revealed that the lack of vitamins he consumed damaged his optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain.
Physicians found he lacked vitamin B12 and vitamin D - which are found in offal, milk, fish and eggs - as well as a reduced bone mineral density and low levels of copper and selenium.
He was also found to have a condition called nutritional optic neuropathy (NON) - usually seen countries where access to food is restricted.
Dr Atan said the youngster, now 19, suffers from an eating disorder known as ARFID (avoidant-restrictive food intake disorder), which causes sufferers to avoid foods which have a particular texture, smell, taste or appearance, or only eat it at a certain temperature.
Speaking about her son’s condition, his mum said: “We are told the damage is irreversible; it’s been a nightmare.
“He has no social life to speak of now. After leaving school he got into college to do a course in IT but he had to give it up because he could not see or hear anything.”
He said the unnamed patient has continued to eat most of the same foods, but his nutrition has improved through vitamin supplements.
He added added: “When this behaviour starts as a child it tends to continue as an adult.
“The processed food was not the problem per se. It was he was only eating that type of food and nothing else.
“Nutrients are extremely important for vision and hearing – but a lot of people are not aware of that.”