Nursing Student Narrowly Avoids Blindness Onset By Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension

Nursing student Jess Boxley could be blind if she didn’t see a doctor for her extreme headaches and neck pain, reported The Huffington Post UK. Jess, at a young 22-years-old, was experiencing progressive pain, and it wasn’t until her sleep was interrupted from the intensity that she realized something was very wrong.

Jess finally sought out medical assistance and learned she was struggling from a rare disease called idiopathic intracranial hypertension, or IIH. IIH is a brain condition that is caused by an overproduction of fluid in the brain, which can cause detrimental damage to one’s eyesight. If Jess hadn’t went to the doctor when she did, she could be blind today. IIH tends to affect women in their 20s and 30s. To learn more about IIH click here.

Symptoms for Jess started with mild headaches and neck pain, but increased to migraines and spurts of 10 second blindness. Studying to become a nurse at Birmingham City University, it became difficult for Jess to concentrate and she found herself consistently taking sick days. Jess described the pain as intense pressure, almost like her head was going to explore. She started sleeping earlier in the night just to avoid the pain altogether.

When Jess went the optician to get tested, they immediately sent her to the ER via an ambulance. The department was only next door, but they couldn’t risk her walking due to the level of severity she was facing. She went to the emergency and had a CT scan that night, which later revealed her condition of IIH. The scan showed inflammation to the optic nerve, which resulted in the pain she was experiencing. It was a shock to to Jess to learn she had a serious brain issue, but it was also relief that she identified the problem before losing her eyesight forever.

Jess had to stay in the hospital being monitored for five days and attend monthly check-ups post discharge. Fortunately for Jess, they were able to manage her disease. Optometrist Hussnan Ejaz expressed joy for Jess’s recovery and want to encourage anyone else experiencing similar symptoms to seek out medical attention right away.


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