The case of a young patient who lost his sight due to an excessively but deliberately poor diet was the subject of a study by a group of researchers at the University of Bristol who published their findings in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
According to the same researchers, this was nutritional optic neuropathy, a dysfunction of the optic nerve caused by poor nutrition that can lead to permanent loss of vision but that is still reversible if it is detected in advance.
Usually the most common causes of this disease are related to intestinal problems or drugs that can interfere with the absorption of nutrients by the stomach. In this study we are faced with a particular case in which the disease, and the subsequent blindness, was caused by a diet carried out intentionally.
The patient, a teenager, had visited the family doctor complaining of a certain tiredness but the link between his nutritional status and the state of his visual system was not detected until many months after this first visit. In the meantime, the visual deficit became reversible.
Tests initially showed macrocytic anemia and low levels of vitamin B12. It was later discovered that the 17-year-old had for a long time been on a diet of foods such as chips, white bread and some processed pork meat, foods considered by the researchers themselves as “junk food.”
The same researchers believe that similar cases may still occur in the future precisely because of the spread of this type of diet. Such a disease with similar causes can occur in parts of the world where the supply of food is not sufficient or is not of good quality, for example in regions where war is going on or in poor areas subject to malnutrition.
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