An 11-year-old Canadian boy is recovering from severe eye conditions caused by an extremely restrictive diet.
When this child arrived at the hospital, he had extremely dry conjunctiva, foamy corneas, and keratinized patches. When doctors tested the boy's vision, they found that he couldn't even see 30 centimeters in front of him. Doctors also found that the patient was suffering from mild optic nerve pallor through a fundoscopic exam.
This boy also had many vision issues before visiting the hospital. Just a few of these symptoms include dry eye syndrome, night blindness, and blurred vision.
The boy's diet was the main cause of his visual symptoms. His parents say he was only eating six foods due to extreme allergic reactions that often resulted in eczema. All of the foods this boy was eating prior to seeing the doctors included lamb, pork, potatoes, apples, cucumbers, and Cheerios.
Because of his restrictive diet, the boy was extremely Vitamin A deficient. Vitamin A is critical for overall eye health.
A blood scan revealed that the boy only had 14.3 micrograms per deciliter (ug/dL) of Vitamin A in his system. For comparison, a healthy person should have between 25.8 and 48.7 ug/dL of Vitamin A.
Over the next six months, doctors fed Vitamin A into the boy's system intravenously. Today, the boy's vision has improved to 20/800. Unfortunately, these mega-doses of Vitamin A probably won't cure the boy's visual issues completely.
Doctors haven't released the name of this patient or his parents. They did note, however, that he was of East Asian descent.
Besides helping with eye health, Vitamin A is critical for skin and immune health. People with Vitamin A deficiencies are at a higher risk of viral infections and developing blindness.
A few foods with extremely high Vitamin A levels include cooked sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, and squash. Most doctors recommend everyone get at least 5,000 international units of Vitamin A per day.
Doctors Dustin Jacobson and Kamiar Mireskandari of the University of Toronto published their eight-month treatment plan with the child. Anyone can find this study in October 2nd, 2017 publication of JAMA Pediatrics Clinical Challenge under the title "An 11-Year-Old Boy With Vision Loss."