A 17-year-old boy who lived on chips, Pringles and processed ham has gone blind because of a lack of vitamins in his diet.
The fussy-eating teenager from Bristol, who is now 19, hadn’t eaten a fruit or vegetable in a decade.
His only daily meal was a portion of chips which was accompanied throughout the day by crisps, deep-fried sausages and the occasional ham sandwich.
He slowly lost his sight over the course of three years, starting when he was 14, due to a condition known as Nutritional Optic Neuropathy (NON).
He was a normal height and weight but the lack of vital nutrients caused irreversible damage to the nerve in the back of his eyes, leaving him registered blind.
Speaking to the Times, he said: ‘I’ve become very isolated. When I was little I’d go out and play football with my friends. I’m too frightened to do that now.’
He believes that doctors he pleaded for advice could have helped him earlier by providing help with his diet, which they only began to question at a progressed stage.
‘When I asked for help, they didn’t listen to me,’ he added.
His mum, who quit her pub job to look after him, told the Telegraph: ‘His sight went downhill very fast – to the point where he is now legally blind.
‘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 would love a job – but he has not been able to find anything he can do. I had to quit my job in a pub. I now look after him full-time.’
The optic nerves are made up of millions of fibres and are responsible for transferring visual information from the retina to the brain.
When the fibres become damaged due to a lack of vitamins, the optic nerve loses its ability to relay messages to the brain.
Nutritional optic neuropathy is a slow, painless condition that sees the gradual decrease in vision.
It is sometimes accompanied by colour-vision dysfunction and if left untreated leads to permanent blindness.
B Vitamins, found in whole foods and leafy vegetables, are vital to maintaining good eyesight.
Medics at Bristol Eye Hospital revealed the tale in the Annals of Internal Medicine’s case reports.
It’s lead author Dr Denize Atan told MailOnline: ‘He has only eaten chips, Pringles, sausages and other processed foods since he was primary school age.
‘It’s the most serious case I’ve ever seen of blindness caused by junk food.
‘He was clearly getting enough calories, but not nutrients. When the problems started he seemed, on the outside, like a health 14-year-old boy.
‘His family actually bought him the chips because if he didn’t eat them then he wouldn’t eat anything. They tried hard to introduce veg and fruit to his diet.
‘He is now registered blind and can only read top letter on an optician chart. He also has a blind spot in the middle of his eyes.
‘He has maintained his peripheral vision, so he is still able to navigate. But he has caused permanent damage to the optic nerve, which can’t repair itself.’
She revealed the teenager has still not changed his diet, but is receiving treatment for an eating disorder and taking vitamin supplements.