You may or may not have seen this news story that spread like wildfire last week. This story was an extreme case in which a 17-year old boy had developed permanent sight loss after he only ate French fries, Pringles, and white bread.
YES! Eating a diet without any nutrition is going to have long term negative consequences. This is related to the nutrients that are required, especially for kids, to develop correctly.
As a parent, it is easy to get concerned that your toddler isn’t eating a balanced diet and may end up in this same place but remember this child had been on a poor diet for many years. The reason behind this, some reports say, are that the child had some food allergies, so he stuck with the food he felt didn’t disrupt his digestion. This led to a deficiency in B12, copper, selenium, and Vitamin D, which are all super important for eye health.
The teen was diagnosed with sight loss – he has a blindness in the middle of his vision – but he has peripheral vision. According to reports, this teen was diagnosed with nutritional optic neuropathy. As with many vision diagnoses, this disease can be reversed if diagnosed early, with that said, if this disease is not treated early it will cause nerve death and the damage is no longer reversable.
This is why annual exams are SOOOO IMPORTANT. In fact, the eye, vision, and the brain are so amazing and complex often times they compensate for early vision loss. As a result, many patients do not notice vision loss until their condition is no longer reversible. Not just for this condition, but for many other vision conditions.
Specifically, looking at nutritional optic neuropathy, parents can look for signs in their children to help get them diagnosed and treated before vision loss is permanent. Anything that seems more than just a normal “picky eater” – if you are not sure what that looks like, reach out to your primary care or pediatrician. Encourage your child and start your child on a multi-vitamin at a young age. This does help but is not a substitute for a healthy diet. Again, for recommendations contact your primary care or pediatrician as some vitamins can be toxic and harmful for children, and adults.
B12 is a wonderful vitamin to keep consistent. Some great ways to include it in your diet is to eat cereals fortified with B12, unsweetened soya drinks fortified with vitamin B12, fish, meat, and eggs.
To check your vision, or your child’s vision, please contact us for an appointment today!