Vision problems, elimination diets and a social dilemma

Hi all! I first considered posting something in GQ but considering the vague nature of my enquiring I thought soliciting opinions might be a better idea…

I have a friend who had (or used to have) bizarre vision problems. The doctor has assessed him as having perfectly acceptable sight, i.e. he doesn’t need glasses, surgery or anything of the sort. However, although the friend’s vision is ‘technically’ perfect, he is still miserable. As he describes it, his sight may be sometimes grainy or cloudy - imagine a tv with a reception problem. He sees things shrouded in darkness when they should be light. Has trouble with screens and brightness, like snow and bright lights, for instance.

This friend can be a somewhat depressive and private person. I’ve asked him if there is a name for his condition and he implied that there was, but it was an ‘ugly’ name and he didn’t want to tell me. I think he’s sporadically seen doctors, but they’ve done little to help.

A while ago he saw a naturopath, who advised some sort of elimination diet. At first he barely ate ANYTHING - small portions of boiled rice and some meat with no marinade was the only thing he would eat all day. When he ‘felt faint’ he would eat a small piece of cheese. I should say, this friend, while not overweight in the slightest, had often expressed his body image issues (of the ‘I wish I had the willpower to be anorexic’ dark jokes) and I think saw this as an excuse to crash diet.

One of my concerns was that this diet seemed to be infinite. There was no timeframe, no ‘I’m going back to the naturopath next week and will begin adding fruit into my diet’, just this mysterious eye problem, a secretive diet and reclusive friend. He rarely went to social events anymore, partly because he couldn’t eat out at cafes or restaurants, drink alcohol or even coffee, partly because his vision problems restricted things like movies. We’re university students, but he’s now deferring until the beginning of next year (for reasons unrelated to his problems) and doesn’t even have a part-time job or anything, so he’s essentially sitting at home ‘wasting away’ much of the time.

After seeing him recently, it seems he has at least a somewhat more sensible approach to the diet - is eating at least nuts, some berries, vegetables etc. Still in ridiculously small and controlled portions, but I think that’s his personal preference rather than what has been imposed by the naturopath. He claims his vision is getting better, which is definitely good. Still, he’s rather vague and blase about what he can’t eat, and for how long. Eg. he can’t have wheat, and one of my other friends (a coeliac) asked whether he could have the gluten-free bread that she does. He said he probably could, but dismissed the idea because he worried he would ‘go crazy’ with it.

Another slightly unrelated problem is that we’re trying to incorporate him back into the social group (partly after my coeliac friend ''H" ran into his mother who was at her wits ends over what to do with him moping at home all the time, and basically begged her to rekindle their old friendship) but he can be a rather difficult person to be friends with sometimes, for a variety of social and logistical reasons (eg he rarely initiates contact, even when he’s glad to do something.) Plus him and “H” used to have a weirdly intimate relationship which she doesn’t particularly want to re-create (he’s gay and she was in love with him, but it got to a point where she would let him walk all over her and he would take advantage of her unconditional support, etc.) So stepping back into his life has to be done with caution.

Wow, sorry for the rambling backstory. I guess my main questions/concerns are:

  • What could this vision problem be? I admit its partially nosiness, but I would feel better about his well-being if I could at least know what we were dealing with. Some googling suggests pre-diabetes (glucose-related vision problems) but I have a feeling that if it were something ‘normal’ sounding like this he would have told us, plus it would have been diagnosed by a doctor.

  • What experiences do people have with naturopaths? Good/bad/kooky?

  • And experiences with elimination diets? Am I wrong in thinking they should be more controlled than “I just won’t eat anything any more, ever?”

  • Also, any advice on how to maintain a balance between supporting someone but ultimately letting them take responsibility for themselves, and completely losing yourself in their life? (More for “H”) than myself.

I know this is a messy first post, but if anyone has some relevant experiences or insight I would be grateful to hear it!

Closing duplicate thread.