A British teenager went blind after only eating a diet largely consisting of Pringles, white bread and french fries.
The patient, who wasn’t named, consumed the limited diet, which also included processed ham, ever since elementary school, according to a case report in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The teen visited the doctor at age 14 with a complaint of tiredness. Doctors determined he had low B12 and anemia, and prescribed him a supplement. At the time, there wasn’t an indication of malnutrition, according to the study. His BMI was normal.
A year later, however, the teen returned with hearing loss and vision problems. By 17, he was blind and the damage could not be reversed.
Doctors found he was deficient in numerous areas, including B12 again, copper and selenium, as well as vitamin D. He also had low bone density.
Doctors at Bristol Eye Hospital and Bristol Medical School determined the teen had nutritional optic neuropathy, which is common in places where malnutrition is rampant. It is usually reversible but only if caught in time.
"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,” said Denize Atan, the study's lead author.