Diet of chicken, Coke and bread left Perth teen with permanent eye damage

WARNING GRAPHIC IMAGES: A Perth teenager almost ate himself blind after his fussy habits triggered a Vitamin A deficiency that has left him with permanent eye damage.

Cian Moore became severely malnourished from his diet of chicken, potatoes, dry bread and Coke.

He then complained to his mother, Kerry Moore, of having dry, gritty eyes, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Cian Moore had a diet of chicken, potatoes, dry bread and Coke. Photo: Getty
Cian Moore had a diet of chicken, potatoes, dry bread and Coke. Photo: Getty

Ms Moore took her then 14-year-old son to various ophthalmologists and pediatricians, a children's hospital and underwent various vision and light tests to find the cause of her teen's decaying vision.

"This is something you're just going to have to live with," an ophthalmologist told the Moore family.

One of Ms Moore's family members watched an ABC program and it revealed there was a cutting-edge treatment for people with similar symptoms in Sydney.

Desperate for answers, the mother booked a flight to see if ophthalmologist Stephanie Watson could cure her son.

"We were terrified that he was going to lose his sight," Ms Moore told the newspaper.

"It seemed to be getting worse."

Cian Moore was severely malnourished and complained to his mother of having dry, gritty eyes. Photo: Supplied
Cian Moore was severely malnourished and complained to his mother of having dry, gritty eyes. Photo: Supplied

Professor Watson diagnosed Cian with a Vitamin A deficiency and said the teen's fussy eating habits had left him so malnourished he was going blind.

"It's associated with a bit of food faddiness where kids might not like food textures and tastes so they end up with this incredibly bland diet," Professor Watson said.

The professor said she had worked with children suffering the deficiency while working in Kenya as a medical student, but claimed it is rare and Cian's was the fourth case she had encountered in Australia.

Vitamin A deficiency symptoms reveal "Bitot's spots" that generate on the surface of the eye eventually builds up to a fibrous substance known as keratin.

"We need a certain amount of vitamin A and without it the cells don't mature normally," Professor Watson said.

"They don't become eye cells, they start going down another path like skin."

This is the eye of a 14-year-old suffering from Vitamin A deficiency. Photo: Medical Journal of Australia
This is the eye of a 14-year-old suffering from Vitamin A deficiency. Photo: Medical Journal of Australia
The left eye of a child suffering from the deficiency. Photo: Medical Journal of Australia
The left eye of a child suffering from the deficiency. Photo: Medical Journal of Australia

Professor Watson, who is chairman of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) public health committee, said often the cases were missed because the patients did not look skinny or malnourished.

Cian immediately took Vitamin A supplements and started drinking vitamin-filled shakes.

The now 16-year-old is active, consumes a diet full of vegetables and is able to hangout with his friends again.

Although the vision in his right eye has almost completely recovered, his left eye is permanently damaged.

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