First ever case of intermittent blindness reported

October 27, 2008

A young woman is suffering from a condition that leaves her blind, but only for half the time. For the last four years, Natalie Adler's eyes have regularly clamped shut for three days every week, and then reopened for the next three days.

An Australian Professor has reported, what he believes to be the first ever case of an intermittently blinding condition. His patient is a young woman who is suffering from a condition that leaves her blind, but only for half the time. For the last four years, Natalie Adler's eyes have regularly clamped shut for three days every week, and then reopened for the next three days.

Professor Justin O'Day, head of neuro-ophthalmology at the Royal Eye and Ear Hospital in Melbourne, Australia has been unable to establish a definitive diagnosis, but believes Ms Adler may be affected by a form of blepharospasm. She appears to be the only person in the world suffering from this condition.

Ms Adler first suffered from swollen eyes four years ago, due to what her doctors believed was a staph and sinus infection. The closing of her eyes was at first intermittent, although the regular cycle of opening and closing was established within weeks. On days when her eyes are closed, Ms Adler is left with a small open slit in her left eye; the rest of the time, her eyes function normally although her left eyelid occasionally droops.

Although conceding that the regularity of the condition and the age of the patient make blepharospasm an unlikely diagnosis, Professor O'Day was unable to offer an alternative diagnosis.