An English teen is now blind and deaf after only eating processed foods for a decade.
Family of the Bristol teen realized something was amiss when at about 14-years-old he began to lose his hearing. His vision quickly deteriorated and now at 19, his family says he has no social life or a job due to his condition.
Doctors say his disability is irreversible.
His mother, who spoke with The Independent and asked to remain anonymous, said she first noticed her son’s diet change when he was seven years old. He only ate French fries, potato chips, processed ham, sausages, and white bread.
“The first we knew about it was when he began coming home from primary school with his packed lunch untouched,” she said. “I would make him nice sandwiches and put an apple or other fruit in and he wouldn’t eat any of it. His teachers became concerned too.”
She continued and said because he didn’t gain any weight they didn’t initially see a problem.
“He has always been skinny so we had no weight concerns. You hear about junk food and obesity all the time, but he was skinny as a rake,” she explained.
Doctors say the teen suffers from avoidant-restrictive food intake disorder or ARFID. Those with the condition will avoid foods with a certain texture, smell, taste, appearance or will reportedly eat said foods at a certain temperature.
The teen’s poor diet damaged his optic nerve leading to a condition known as nutritional optic neuropathy. (NON) His mother was stunned when she learned of her son’s disorder and how it relates to disability now.
“His sight went downhill very fast – to the point where he is now legally blind,” the 40-something-year-old mom said.
Dr. Denize Atan who tends to the teen said he’s eating mostly the same foods from before. His nutrition, however, has improved due to supplements.