Blind through massive chips and chips: adolescents go blind due to poor nutrition

Adolescents almost only eat fries and chips - and go blind

In the UK, a youngster is blind because he has almost only eaten chips and chips. The teenager had previously been prescribed dietary supplements due to a lack of vitamins, but had not taken them. And he hadn't followed the medical advice to change his diet.

Cardiovascular diseases, obesity and cancer: media reports repeatedly emphasize the health risks associated with junk food. However, poor nutrition can also permanently damage the nervous system, especially eyesight.

Serious vitamin deficiencies and malnutrition damage

Experts warn of the dangers of "fussy eating" after a 17-year-old has suffered an irreparable loss of vision through eating chips and chips. Ophthalmologists in Bristol, England, looked after the young man after his eyesight deteriorated to the point of blindness. After leaving primary school, the teenager ate only chips, chips and white bread, and occasionally a slice of ham or a sausage. Tests showed serious vitamin deficiencies and malnutrition damage.

Extremely picky eater

According to a report by the "BBC", the youngster had visited his family doctor at the age of 14 because he felt tired and uncomfortable. At that time, he was diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency and received supplements, but he did not adhere to the treatment. And he didn't improve his diet.

Three years later, he was brought to Bristol Eye Hospital for progressive vision loss, as reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine magazine. According to Dr. Denize Atan, who treated him in the hospital, essentially consisted of a daily serving of french fries. He also ate chips, sometimes slices of white bread and occasionally ham, but almost no fruit and vegetables.

Also read:

  • Vegan nutrition protects against fatal heart problems and strokes
  • Health: Eating 2 burgers is healthier than eating a burger and fries?

"He explained this as an aversion to certain food consistencies that he couldn't tolerate, so fries and chips were the only types of food he wanted and could eat." Atan and her colleagues checked the teen's vitamin level again and found that he lacked B12 and some other important vitamins and minerals - copper, selenium, and vitamin D.

Treatment is possible if diagnosed early

The young patient was not overweight or underweight, but was severely malnourished. "He had lost minerals from his bones, which was really shocking for a boy his age," said the doctor. Regarding his vision loss, he met the criteria to be classified as blind.

"He had blind spots in the middle of his field of vision," said Dr. Atan. "This means that he cannot drive and would find it really difficult to read, watch TV or recognize faces." But: "He can walk around alone because he has peripheral vision."

Nutritional optic neuropathy (colloquially: eye infarction) - the condition that the young man suffers from - can be treated if diagnosed early. However, if left untreated for too long, the nerve fibers in the optic nerve will die and the damage will be permanent. Dr. Fortunately, Atan said such cases are rare, but parents should be aware of the potential harm that picky eating can cause and seek expert help.

For those who are worried, she advised, "It is best not to be concerned about picky food and instead calmly introduce one or two new foods with each meal." Multivitamin tablets can be a supplement, but not a substitute for one be healthy eating. "It's much better to get vitamins through a varied and balanced diet," the doctor said, adding that too much of a certain vitamin, including vitamin A, can be harmful. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • BBC: Teenager 'blind' from living off crisps and chips, (access: 03.09.2019), BBC
  • Annals of Internal Medicine: Blindness Caused by a Junk Food Diet, (accessed: September 3, 2019), Annals of Internal Medicine

Video: Teenager left blind by crisp and chip diet. 5 News (January 2022).