Teen loses sight after eating junk food for 5 years

Loss of vision, hearing and reduction of bone mass – these are the negative consequences recorded in a teenager who ate only unhealthy food, junk food.

From the age of 14, when he began to show symptoms of fatigue, and until the age of 17, his vision gradually deteriorated, his acuity fell to 1/10 (that is, he saw 1/10 of what a person without vision problems sees), while already at the age of 15 he had sensorineural hearing loss.

For five years in a row, the boy ate french fries, chips, bacon, sausages and bread, and nothing else, writes dikaiologitika.gr.

Georgios Karastatiras, ophthalmologist-curator of the Athens Naval Hospital, spoke about the incident in Bristol today in the context of the 55th Panhellenic Ophthalmological Conference organized by the Ophthalmological Society of Northern Greece (May 19-21, Thessaloniki).

In an interview with APE-MPE, Mr Karastatiras stated that he himself experienced this incident during his specialization at the Bristol University Eye Hospital and that after a series of examinations to which the teenager was subjected over a period of three years, it was determined that the loss of vision was due to with his “exclusive diet” and ingestion of junk food.

“The child, when he was 14 years old, had symptoms of rapid fatigue. His mother told the therapist that the boy was “selective in nutrition” but did not receive any systematic treatment. His history was not aggravated, he had no problems, no allergies, and he was generally healthy. On examination, the therapist revealed macrocytic anemia, vitamin B12 deficiency. He was also tested for endogenous factor, his transaminases were negative, and the doctor gave him injectable vitamin B12 and dietary advice,” Mr. Karastatiras said.

A year later, the child developed sensorineural hearing loss, and he was sent for examination to an ENT specialist. Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain revealed no structural abnormalities. It was then that he reported that he had some visual symptoms. The teenager was referred to an ophthalmologist, who examined him and found that his vision was normal, without any problems.

When he was 17 years old, he reported that he had a very significant loss of vision. The general practitioner referred him to an ophthalmologist, after which it turned out that his vision is 20/200 (about 1/10 of what a person without vision problems sees), and he also has a reduced color perception of 8/17.

It was decided to conduct an additional examination using an electrodiagnostic test, which showed bilateral optic neuropathy. Repeat magnetic resonance imaging revealed no other problems, and a genetic test for Leber’s optic neuropathy was performed, no other problems were found.

Subsequent additional investigations were carried out and macrocytosis, normal ferritin, standard folic acid values ​​and normal liver function were found in the total blood. The examination showed that he may have had a functional vitamin B12 deficiency,” added Mr. Karastatiras.

The child was not overweight, weighed 65 kg and was 1.72 tall, did not use alcohol, tobacco or drugs, and his mother told him that he could not eat foods that had any strange textures.

“Then we decided to study his diet and found that over the past five years, all he ate was a serving of Fish & Chips fries, chips, bacon and sausages. He ate only that and nothing else. After seeing all this, we did another test, which showed that he had low levels of copper and selenium, high levels of zinc, clearly low levels of vitamin D, as well as osteopenia (decreased bone mass).

A biopsy of the digestive tract was also performed, which turned out to be normal. We gave him nutritional supplements, referred him to a psychiatric service and saw that his vision stabilized but did not improve. “This happened from 2017 to 2020 when I observed it,” Mr. Karastatiras said.

Mr. Karastatiras cited malabsorption, medication, malnutrition, vitamin B and iron deficiency as the main causes of optic neuropathy.

“When we have unexplained loss of vision, we should include trophic optic neuropathy in our differential diagnosis, especially when the patient is on a lean diet, whether they are obese or not. Optic neuropathy is likely reversible if diagnosed early. However, if it remains incurable, it could lead to irreversible vision loss,” concluded Mr. Karastatiras.

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