Most of us have seen the news headline that has been flooding the internet and news briefings in ocular and medical journals and websites: “BLINDNESS CAUSED BY A JUNK FOOD DIET”
“A British teenager has permanent vision loss, hearing loss, and weak bones after years of eating only select types of junk food. The teen’s doctors eventually diagnosed him with a relatively newly defined eating disorder called avoidant-restrictive food in-take disorder (ARFID). They report the teen’s case this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine ……”
This case represents a very sad example of a not-so-uncommon phenomenon of restricted diets that are also often displayed by kids with sensory integration issues and kids with special needs. On the extreme, avoidant-restrictive food in-take disorder leads to frank disease that is obvious. A question to ponder though, is what about subclinical nutrient deficiencies that are very pervasive in our Western culture due to the overconsumption of junk food in typical children and adults that result in cellular dysfunction in a more insidious way. Indeed, it is a spectrum with blindness/death at the extreme end. We as doctors with knowledge of nutrition must realize that nutrient deficiencies are often subtle but impactful.
As eye doctors, we are trained to diagnose children with focusing and/or oculomotor imbalances. Kids with learning differences and special needs are indeed three times more likely to have binocular vision disorders and present frequently in our offices because it’s uncomfortable to read. They often suffer concomitantly from self-limited diets due to a sensory aversion to textures and tastes. Chicken fingers and fries are quite often the staple of their diets. It is important that we ask parents about their child’s diet as kids with sensory issues often self-limit their diets and parents must be made aware of the dangers of nutritional deficiencies.
The case below is another one highlighting a 21 year old college student with a very limited diet and the medical consequences:
“Further history revealed that the patient’s diet was limited to toasted oats cereal (Cheerios) without milk and to bread and french-fried potatoes. The patient admitted to a profound aversion to most foods and textures, including meat, and avoided all but a limited diet since early childhood. There were no elements suggestive of a mood, anxiety or eating disorder.”
The OWNS remains committed to highlighting important wellness and nutritional issues that impact your patients. We encourage you to take advantage of the continuing education opportunities OWNS provides on topics that you may not get at other continuing education events.
2019 Fall Dinner Lecture
Featuring Dr. Tom Levy
“Vitamin C and Magnesium: The Master Supplements”
Thursday, October 24th, 7:00-10:00pm
Cuba Libra Restaurant and Rum Bar, Orlando, FL