Optic neuromyelitis, also known as Devic’s disease, is a rare disorder that affects the eyes and spinal cord. It occurs in approximately one in five out of 100,000 people, and in its early stages can be mistaken for multiple sclerosis.
There are two types of Devic’s disease; in one, the patient has initial symptoms that resolve and don’t return. Others are not so lucky.
The condition can permanently impair vision and effect the spinal cord to the point where mobility can be severely compromised.
In many cases, vision and mobility improve with treatment, usually comprised of corticosteroids. However, frequent recurrences can cause chronic symptoms to worsen over time.
It’s not known what causes Devic’s disease. Ninety-five percent of patients diagnosed with it report having no other family member affected by it (though 3% report a family history of the disease).
The football franchise has always told its players that family values were paramount to the game, and although the team would be impacted by the player’s absence, his team is supporting him.
As with any rare disease or disorder, getting support is important.
It helps to remove the feelings of isolation and empowers patients to advocate on their own behalf. If you have Devic’s disease and would like to connect with a support group, click here.