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Updated 25 May 2018

Kempton Park teen slowly going blind

Over the course of two years she’d noticed her vision deteriorating, but at first her mom didn’t really believe her – especially not when she complained of having double vision.

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Over the course of two years she’d noticed her vision deteriorating, but at first her mom didn’t really believe her – especially not when she complained of having double vision.

“I thought she just wanted new glasses,” says Nastasjha Botha, from Allen Grove in Kempton Park, Gauteng, explaining how things began to change for her 19-year-old daughter, Amy.

But by October last year Amy’s double vision had become so bad her mom took her to an optician, who took one look at Amy’s eyes and realised something was terribly wrong.

After several scans and blood tests he gave them the bad news: Amy has an extremely rare condition known as idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), which means the pressure inside her skull is increasing. But it wasn’t the only bad news. 

“It was on 14 December last year,” Nastasjha recalls. “I was at work when Amy called and said she couldn’t see out of her left eye. I knew something serious was wrong.”

Doctors increased Amy’s medication but her vision kept deteriorating.

“By January this year she started noticing a difference in her right eye. She’s lost so much sight in her right eye that she can now barely see through it.

“Unless Amy has an operation soon her blindness will become permanent,” Nastasjha says.

They’re hoping a ventricular shunt to relieve the pressure on her brain will help to restore her vision. 

The problem is the Botha family don’t have medical aid.

Until recently Amy had been going for treatment at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria to have cerebral spinal fluid drawn from her skull to reduce the pressure on her brain.

After each session her medication was also increased. The medication makes Amy nauseous and even causes hallucinations.

“She’s struggling with headaches and sometimes becomes hysterical with pain,” Nastasjha says.

Amy’s only hope lies in surgery, she adds. Unfortunately there’s a long waiting list at Steve Biko for this kind of operation. “The neurologist advised us to go to a private hospital because Amy needs surgery as soon as possible. She can’t wait any longer,” Nastasjha says.

For more information on Amy and the operation she needs, go to her Facebook page, Help Amy Get A Shunt.

 
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