Womans contact lens problem turned out to be incurable condition

This Morning doctor explains multiple sclerosis symptoms

Believing a contact lens must have been stuck in her eye, Rebecca-Louise booked an urgent eye test. Eye specialists, however, prompted the 29-year-old to go to A&E. “When I went to Specsavers, I thought it was a contact lens thing,” Rebbeca-Louise, from Milnrow, Rochdale, said.

At the hospital, medical staff treated her for a stroke, she told the Manchester Evening News but, then, they weren’t sure what was wrong.

After four weeks in the hospital, it became clear to the beautician what had led to an earlier incident.

Weeks before losing some of her vision, Rebecca-Louise had experienced a sudden tingling on the left side of her body.

Assuming it was a trapped nerve at the time, her doctor prescribed painkillers.

Yet, more than a month later, multiple tests and scans revealed Rebecca-Louise had multiple sclerosis (MS) – an incurable and lifelong condition.

Diagnosed with multiple relapsing-remitting MS, her symptoms are expected to get worse with each episode.

The MS Society explains that in between flares, the disability stabilises.

However, after each relapse, the body finds it harder to repair the damage.

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This means the disability is likely to get worse over time if treatment is not started.

The charity elaborates: “MS relapses are caused when your immune system attacks the protective covering (called myelin) around nerves in your brain and spinal cord.

“The damage to the myelin means these nerves don’t work like they should, and this causes your MS symptoms.”

Symptoms can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Loss of balance and dizziness
  • Stiffness or spasms
  • Tremor
  • Pain
  • Bladder and bowel problems
  • Vision problems
  • Problems with memory and thinking.

As for Rebecca-Louise, while given a short course of steroids, another relapse meant she lost her eyesight and the use of her arms and legs.

Remaining in the hospital for around two months, Rebecca-Louise had plasma exchanges, blood transfusions and multiple courses of steroids.

Thankfully, the treatment meant Rebecca-Louise regained the use of her limbs and part of her eyesight.

“I’ve been left with permanent damage and I can’t see out of my right eye and I don’t think I will ever be able to,” said Rebecca-Louise.

“My arms and legs have improved where I can walk and use them, but I can’t feel my legs in a way a normal person can.

“It’s a very different sensation, there are sharp shooting pains and pins and needles.

“A lot of my symptoms are invisible so no one really notices. I went fully blind but gained my left eye back, thank God. I had to learn how to do things a lot differently.”

Rebecca-Louise is currently receiving disease-modifying treatment to help minimise her symptoms, but she says she is “still coming to terms” with her condition.

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