The 13-year old Cian Moore from Perth in Australia slowly became blind. The medical world was baffled and could not seem to find out why. Until a professor in Sydney presented him with an unlikely diagnose.
The concerned mother Kerry Moore said that ophthalmologists and other specialists were clueless when her son Cian slowly lost his eye-sight. They were told that he had no choice but to learn to live with it. The boy then isolated himself and lost contact with his friends.
After Kerry's parents saw a TV show about a doctor in Sydney who managed to save partially blind kids, the woman and her child promptly flew over to Sydney. "We were prepared for the worst and feared that Cian would be completely blind", Kerry said.
But when professor Stephanie Watson examined the teenager, she found out pretty quickly what was the matter. The diagnose was much more banal than his mother had feared all that time. "She examined him for a minute and asked: 'Do you know what this is?', Kerry stated. "And I said: 'No, no one can explain it. And she answered: 'It's a vitamin A deficiency'."
After all, vitamin A is essential for your resistance, the growth and health of the skin, hair and eyes. A deficiency of vitamin A caused his cells to be damaged to such an extent that Cian had partially lost his eye-sight. Since he was six, the boy had eaten so unhealthily that he threatened to turn blind. He only ingested chicken, potatoes, dry bread and cola.
Professor Watson was familiar with the phenomenon from when she had worked in Kenya as a medical student. This was the fourth case that she observed in Australia. "We need a certain amount of vitamin A so that our cells can sufficiently develop", she added. "Oftentimes, a vitamin deficiency is not even considered, because the children look well-fed. For instance, when you eat crisps and drink cola, you barely ingest any proper nutrients, but you do feel satiated", Watson explained.
After the diagnose, Cian started drinking vitamin shakes and eating vegetables, although he had to hold his nose shut to be able to swallow the food. He had always hated vegetables.
Today the boy is in much better shape and he spends a lot of time with his friends. His right eye is functioning normally again, but his left eye might not fully recover because the damage done by his poor diet was already too severe.
Vitamin A deficiency is the main cause of blindness in children in developing countries. Approximately 250,000 to even 500,000 children suffer from it due to a lack of a varied diet. If you have a good health and a varied diet, it is - except when advised by a doctor - nearly never necessary to take extra vitamin A.