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Nutritional blindness from avoidant-restrictive food intake disorder – recommendations for the early diagnosis and multidisciplinary management of children at risk from restrictive eating


Avoidant-restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) is an eating disorder characterised by limited consumption or the avoidance of certain foods, leading to the persistent failure to meet the individual’s nutritional and/or energy needs. The disordered eating is not explained by the lack of available food or cultural beliefs. ARFID is often associated with a heightened sensitivity to the sensory features of different types of food and may be more prevalent among children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) for this reason. Sight loss from malnutrition is one of the most devastating and life-changing complications of ARFID, but difficult to diagnose in young children and those with ASD who have more difficulty with communicating their visual problems to carers and clinicians, leading to delayed treatment and greater probability of irreversible vision loss. In this article, we highlight the importance of diet and nutrition to vision and the diagnostic and therapeutic challenges that clinicians and families may face in looking after children with ARFID who are at risk of sight loss. We recommend a scaled multidisciplinary approach to the early identification, investigation, referral and management of children at risk of nutritional blindness from ARFID.

  • Ophthalmology
  • Micronutrients
  • Paediatrics
  • Child Development
  • Child Health

Data availability statement

Data sharing not applicable as no datasets generated and/or analysed for this study.

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