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Diet-related mercury poisoning resulting in visual loss *

A 36-year-old man with progressive peripheral neuropathies was referred to the eye clinic with failing visual acuity. No cause could be found for his ongoing weight loss, poor appetite, disturbed sleep and worsening painful neuropathies after extensive investigations. Blood tests identified a markedly raised mercury concentration, and further inquiries identified his diet to be rich in fish caught in the Caribbean. Tests carried out on the fish he provided showed a high concentration of mercury in the tissue. Electrophysiology showed changes consistent with published reports on patients regularly exposed to high levels of mercury.

A 36-year-old man was referred to the neuro-ophthalmology clinic with a 3-month history of deteriorating vision, with difficulty in reading. He was also being investigated by the neurology service for peripheral neuropathies. He had an 8-month history of numbness and tingling in both feet and in his fingertips.

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As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 03-31-2009
Authors: M Saldana, C E Collins, R Gale and O Backhouse
Source: British Journal of Ophthalmology 2006;90:1432-1434; doi:10.1136/bjo.2006.094821