Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure
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Vision loss is a casualty of the ageing process but it can be spurred on through poor dietary decisions, according to contact lens optician Sharon Copeland of Feel Good Contacts. She highlighted the dangers posed by specific items in a recent interview with Express.co.uk. Ms Copeland said: “Excess amounts of highly sweetened foods and refined carbohydrates (typically appear in the western diet) can cause vision loss.”
Some of the worst refined carbohydrates include white bread and pasta as well as highly sweetened foods such as ketchup and fizzy drinks, she said.
The above culprits are digested rapidly which causes an increase in blood sugar, explained Ms Copeland.
“This blood sugar increase can lead to the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) which is when damage is caused to the retina.”
According to Ms Copeland, AMD causes blindness in the central field of vision and can eventually lead to “total blindness”.
She continued: “Too many blood sugar spikes can cause type 2 diabetes. Those with diabetes can develop diabetic retinopathy which can cause problems with your eyes.
“The longer blood sugar remains uncontrolled in diabetic people, the more chance they have of developing issues with their eyes.”
According to Ms Copeland, other typical parts of the western diet that can damage your eyes include processed meats, such as sausages, bacon, ham and deli meats.
“These processed meats contain a lot of salt. Excess salt (as well as caffeine) in the diet can contribute to high blood pressure.”
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As the optician explained, hypertensive retinopathy can result from high blood pressure and cause damaged blood vessels in the retina.
In a case report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, many these fears were realised.
A teenager went blind after years of eating junk food.
The finding prompted eye doctors in Bristol to warn about the dangers of “fussy eating” after they cared for the young man, whose condition became progressively worse to the point of irreparable blindness.
Researchers from Bristol Eye Hospital, Bristol, United Kingdom, reported the case of a 14-year-old patient who first visited his family physician complaining of tiredness.
Aside from being labelled a “fussy eater”, the boy had a normal body mass index (BMI) and took no medications.
The teenager admitted that since leaving primary school, he lived off a diet of French fries, Pringles, white bread, and processed meat.
Although he had a normal BMI and didn’t take any medication, tests found the body had vitamin deficiencies with a low level of vitamin B12 and macrocytic anaemia – a condition bringing larger-than-normal red blood cells.
The medical report went on to say that as a result, he was given B12 injections, put on supplements and given dietary advice – however he did not stick to the recommended treatment.
A year later, the young man returned to the hospital because he had developed some hearing loss and impaired vision, but doctors couldn’t find a cause.
By the age of 17, “the patient’s vision had become progressively worse, to the point of blindness”, the report said.
The boy admitted that he avoided foods of certain textures and had eaten the same junk foods for over a decade.
Investigating the boy’s nutrition further, physicians found vitamin B12 and vitamin D deficiencies, a reduced bone mineral density, low levels of copper and selenium, and a high zinc level.
“By the time his condition was diagnosed, the patient had permanently impaired vision.”
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