Eye Health

26 June 2015

Woman loses eyesight to flesh-eating disease 24 hours after mud run

U.S mom Brittany Williams lose her vision in one eye within 24 hours of being exposed to a flesh-eating disease whilst competing in a mud run event.


Brittany Williams, a 23 year old mom from Dallas, Texas in the United States was participating in a mud run event earlier this month when she was exposed to a flesh-eating disease that caused her to go blind in one eye within 24 hours. 

Expecting nothing more than a fun day mucking about with her fiancé, Rob, Brittany was surprised when she started experiencing severe pain and vision loss in her left eye. Speaking to CBS DFW, Brittany explained that at first she didn't think it was anything serious, assuming that some dirt may have got trapped in her eye. When she opened her eye "the whole room was white" and she knew something was seriously wrong.

Brittany was taken to the emergency room and examined later that evening. Doctors suspected a chemical burn, explaining that she had cuts and abrasions to the cornea of her left eye and explained that her vision may never return.

The following day, her condition had worsened and she was admitted to hospital. Doctors realised that her pain was not due to a chemical burn but rather a flesh-eating disease that could have entered her system through an abrasion to the cornea.

brittany williams

Brittany lying in bed after being admitted to hospital (courtesy of Britanny's Go Fund Me account)

Read: Symptoms of an eye injury

Brittany does not currently have health insurance and works two jobs to keep up with bills is battling to keep up with the mounting hospital costs, ABC 13 explains. Her fiancé, Rob, has set up a Go Fund Me account for her to raise the $50 000 (Over R600 000) needed to pay for her treatment and has been posting regular updates on Brittany's condition.

In an initial post, Rob explained that doctors weren't sure how to treat Brittany's condition and were administering a number of different eye drops to assess which is most effective. A few days later, Rob indicated that Brittany was scheduled for a tissue biopsy when they were asked to leave the facility as they could not afford the procedure and did not have health insurance.

Rob has since found a specialist to treat Brittany and explains that the doctor is currently investigating whether the disease was caused by a fungus or a bacteria:

go fund me

Read: Common eye injuries

Brittany remains blind in her left eye. Her doctor cannot say for sure whether or not she will regain her vision. To date, Rob has managed to raise $16 037 (just over R194 000) through the Go Fund Me account and is grateful for everyone who has spread Brittany's story and donated money for her treatment.

Watch the CBS DFW coverage of Brittany's story here:

Read more:

Blind SA Iron Man on track

11 year old boy goes blind from laser light

The eye injury that ended Mark Boucher's career


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Megan Goodman qualified as an optometrist from the University of Johannesburg and is currently practising at Tygerberg Academic Hospital in Cape Town. She has recently completed a Masters degree in Clinical Epidemiology at Stellenbosch University. She has a keen interest in ocular pathology and evidence based medicine as well as contact lenses.

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