A teenager from Bristol has suffered irreversible loss of eyesight as well as diminished hearing as a result of subsisting merely on chips, white bread, processed snacks and meat.
His family have spoken out to British members of the press to share their heartache over their son’s health issues, resulting in the teenager, now 19, unable to find work or have a normal social life.
The teenager has been a fussy eater from an early age and is unable to tolerate the texture of fruit and vegetables.
As a result of years of subsisting on such a diet, he has suffered from nutritional optic neuropathy – treatable when diagnosed early enough. Unfortunately, fibres in his optic nerve have suffered damage to such a degree that the damage has been judged to be permanent.
The teenager’s mother said that her son became a fussy eater from an early age, at around seven years old. She became aware of this after noticing that her son would come home from school without touching his lunch, which consisted of a freshly made sandwich and a piece of fruit, such as an apple.
The child has never suffered from weight issues despite the diet of processed food. Years of eating in this way did however result in malnutrition. The family reportedly noticed how bad things were getting when the boy was 14 and his hearing and sight were observed to have diminished.
The teenager suffers from an eating disorder called Arfid (avoidant restrictive food intake disorder), causing a person to become sensitive to the texture, appearance, smell and taste of certain types of food.
He had suffered a vitamin B12 deficiency at the age of 14 and was placed on supplements, however he failed to adhere to the treatment or improve his diet.
The Guardian reports Dr Denize Atan, who treated the teenager at Bristol Eye Hospital, saying “He had a daily portion of fries from the local fish and chip shop and snacked on Pringles, white bread, processed ham slices and sausage.”