Can Junk Food Affect Your Vision?

A recent article on CNN.com shared the story of a teenage boy who went blind after eating french fries, Pringles, and white bread for the majority of his life. Yes, this sounds crazy, but the boy’s case is real and we find that the information about nutrition contained in it is very important to share with our patients.
After investigation, doctors found that the boy in the article was severely deficient in Vitamin B12.
By the time the boy was 17, the damage was permanent. He had suffered nutritional optic neuropathy which is essentially a dysfunction of the optic nerve. The optic nerve is the way our eyes connect to our brains.
Researchers in the article say that poor diet and reduced intake of minerals caused vision loss in this case and it is noted in history that malnutrition caused by war and tough times has led to nutritional optic neuropathy which has then in turn led to vision loss. The researchers also warn that nutritional optic neuropathy could become more common due to someone consuming junk food as in this case. One interesting note coming out of the article is for vegans to make sure to supplement for vitamin B12 to avoid deficiency. More info on B12:
Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products. Vitamin B12 is generally not present in plant foods, but fortified breakfast cereals are a readily available source of vitamin B12 with high bio-availability for vegetarians [5,13-15]. (Source: NIH)
This article and this boy’s case bring us to the conclusion that we all need some real food.
Sure, some cheat meals or french fries once in a while will not make you blind, but let’s let this very scary, but real story, be a lesson to all of us that what we put into our bodies really does make a difference with all the amazing things that our bodies do for us day to day, like seeing the sun when we wake up every morning!
Our vision has such a huge impact on our quality of life, we should try our best to preserve it so that we can see the world change during our lifetimes. If that means some more B12, and fewer chips, then we stand behind that recommendation!
Even though we are not nutritionists or dietitians in our office, we are here to help you diagnose any changes or fluctuations in your vision and we can speak intelligently to what you can avoid whether it is food based or lifestyle related to help you and your vision. Please call us today if you are noticing any changes in your vision lately or are having any trouble seeing at 713-626-5544!

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Posted in: eye health, Ophthalmology Houston

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