The University of Bristol researchers who examined the case recommend clinicians consider nutritional optic neuropathy in any patients with unexplained vision symptoms and poor diet can lead to blindness, regardless of BMI.
Nutritional optic neuropathy is a dysfunction of the optic nerve which is important for vision. The condition is reversible if caught early. But, left untreated, it can lead to permanent structural damage to the optic nerve and blindness.
The researchers concluded that the patient’s ‘junk food’ diet and limited intake of nutritional vitamins and minerals resulted in the onset of nutritional optic neuropathy. They suggest the condition could become more prevalent in future, given the widespread consumption of ‘junk food’ at the expense of more nutritious options, and the rising popularity of veganism if the vegan diet is not supplemented appropriately to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency.
Dietary history should be part of any routine clinical examination like asking about smoking and alcohol intake. This may avoid a diagnosis of nutritional optic neuropathy being missed or delayed as some associated visual loss can fully recover if the nutritional deficiencies are treated early enough.
Poor diet can lead to blindness