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Experts issue warning over food that can lead to 'total blindness' - including pasta and ketchup

Experts, including doctors in Bristol, have issued a warning about four foods which can spur on the development of an age-related health issue that can lead to 'total blindness'.

In an article by the Express, Sharon Copeland from Feel Good Contacts, listed the foods which speed up the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The contact lens optician said that, while vision loss can come with age, it can also be sped up through poor dietary decisions and some specific food items pose a bigger danger than others.

She said: "Excess amounts of highly sweetened foods and refined carbohydrates (typically appear in the Western diet) can cause vision loss." She added that some of the worst refined carbohydrates include white bread, pasta and highly sweetened foods such as fizzy drinks and even ketchup.

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Ms Copeland explained that these foods are digested rapidly, causing an increase in blood sugar. She went on to say: "This blood sugar increase can lead to the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) which is when damage is caused to the retina."

As well as listing these dietary dangers, the expert also described how 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."

Ms Copeland also went on to list other foods typically found in our diets, that can also damage your eyes - these included processed meats, such as sausages, bacon, ham and deli meats - saying that these processed meats "contain a lot of salt. Excess salt (As well as caffeine) in the diet can contribute to high blood pressure", which can result in the above mentioned hypertensive retinopathy and cause damaged blood vessels in the retina.

A case in Bristol

Eye doctors in Bristol have been behind research into the correlation between the food we eat and eye health, after a teenager went blind after years of eating junk food, according to a published case report. This led to doctors in Bristol to warn of the dangers of "fussy eating" after caring for the young man, whose condition became so bad he went blind.

Researchers from Bristol Eye Hospital reported the case of the 14-year-old patient who first visited his family physician complaining of being tired. He was labelled a "fussy eater" but had a normal body mass index (BMI) and wasn't on any medication.

He admitted that, since leaving primary school, his diet consisted of French fries, Pringles, white bread and processed meat and, upon testing, it was revealed he had a number of vitamin deficiencies, including a low level of B12 and macrocytic anaemia - a condition which brings larger than normal red blood cells.

The report states that he was given B12 injections, put on supplements and given dietary advice, but he did not stick to the advised treatment and - a year later - he returned to the hospital because he had developed hearing loss and impaired vision. Doctors were unable to find a cause.

The report said that, by the age of 17, "the patient's vision had become progressively worse, to the point of blindness" and he admitted that he avoided foods of certain textures and had eaten the same junk foods for more than a decade.

Physicians investigated his nutrition and found B12 and vitamin D deficiencies, a reduced bone mineral density, low levels of copper and selenium and a high zinc level. The report said that "by the time his condition was diagnosed, the patient had permanently impaired vision."

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