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Woman Goes Blind For Three Days Out Of Six

Woman Goes Blind For Three Days Out Of Six

A Melbourne woman whose eyes clamp shut for three days at a time baffles specialists.

A Melbourne woman whose eyes involuntarily shut for up to three days at a time, has baffled doctors and specialists.

Natalie Adler, 21, has been locked in the extraordinary routine for four years. Doctors believe Ms Adler may be the only person in the world with her condition.

“My eyes are closed for three days and then open for three days,” Ms Adler, of Caulfield South, said.

natalie adler Woman Goes Blind For Three Days Out Of Six

“Something happens overnight (on the third night). I go to bed and I can open my eyes, and then when I wake up the next day I can’t,
“Nobody knows why.”

Ms Adler’s condition began during her 11th year at school. Since then she has undergone countless amounts of tests, but doctors still have no answers.

“I woke one Sunday and my eyes were swollen. It was the day before an English exam…
“After a sinus and staph infection, I just never got better…
“My eyes started closing intermittently, really randomly, but within a few weeks they were closing for three days,”

Experts from the Royal Eye and Ear Hospital said Ms Adler’s case was like no known other. Associate professor Justin O’Day, head of the hospital’s neuro-ophthalmology unit, said,

“Natalie’s a mystery,
“She’s a one-off and we don’t have a diagnosis.”

Dr O’Day believes the condition could be related to blepharospasm – a disorder that causes random muscle spasms which in turn, force the eyes to close. But he said there was no medical explanation for the strict consistency of Ms Adler’s eye routine.

“It’s unusual to see somebody with this degree of spasming and eyelid closure, especially at this age.
“There is no known cause,” he added.

The best-known treatment for Ms Adler, Botox injections around the eyes, only worked temporarily. At one point, her six day cycle changed to five days open and one day closed. No-one knows what causes this change, but after two years, her cycle inexplicably changed back.

But Ms Adler, who also suffers unexplained fatigue and nausea, said Botox no longer worked for her. Ms Adler tries to fit as much as she can into her good days, which are marked months ahead in her diary. Although the consistency of her condition allows her to plan ahead, sometimes things can’t be scheduled and it’s often those important days which really make a difference.

“On my 18th birthday, my eyes were closed, but on my 21st they were open, so I had a party,” she said.

A big footy fan, she watched the AFL Grand Final live for the first time in three years.

“Not being able to go to the football or seeing my friends as much is what I miss the most,
“It’s the general day-to-day things that I used to take for granted.”

Ms Adler’s parents, Fred and Lillian, said they were proud of the way their daughter handled her situation.

“Natalie’s always saying there are a lot of other people worse off than she is,” Mr. Adler said.

Natalie’s next treatment will include electrical stimulation of the eyes, a new direction in which doctors hope to find a cure.

“The tests give me a glimmer of hope.”

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