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'The worst night of my life': Broseley man describes rare eye disease diagnosis

By Rory Smith | Telford | Health | Published:

A man from Broseley has described a night in hospital with a rare eye condition as being "etched in my mind as the worst in my life".

Ian West is raising money for research into a rare eye condition

Ian West had to plead a hospital nurse for more painkillers when he was admitted to hospital with Acanthamoeba Keratitis (AK), a rare eye infection that can lead to blindness.

He had been wearing monthly disposable contact lenses for more than 25 years without an issue until one evening his eye felt sore and vision became unclear.

The 66-year-old removed his lenses and went to bed early, only to wake up a few hours later in excruciating pain.

After several trips to an eye clinic, he was diagnosed with AK and checked into hospital.

"That first night I spent in hospital is etched in my mind as the worst in my life," he said.

"The pain in my eye, perhaps aggravated by the scrape I had been given to remove some of the infected corneal tissue, was even worse than in the past few days.

"I had taken all the painkillers I'd got with me and pleaded with the nurse for more."

'Terrible pain'

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Ian needed a cataract operation to repair the damage done to his eye by the infection, but said he considers himself "one of the luckier ones".

"I was diagnosed quickly," he said. "I suffered terrible pain for many months and had to live in a darkened room, but after six months I was free of the infection and able to start rebuilding my life.

"I’m one of the luckier ones, most people with AK have far worse outcomes than me and that’s why I’m raising money to help fund more research into the condition.

"I don’t want others to go through the pain that I went through."

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Ian is now raising money through the charity Fight for Sight, which has set up an AK community fund.

The money raised will help fund research into more effective treatments and diagnosis for the condition.

Head of Research at Fight for Sight, Dr Rubina Ahmed said: “We are so grateful to Ian and the AK community who are helping to raise vital funds for eye research.

"The research we fund is uncovering new breakthroughs everyday and with more support we can help transform the lives of people with sight loss.”

To donate to Ian's cause, visit fightforsight.org.uk

Rory Smith

By Rory Smith
Reporter - @rorysmith_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley, Telford.

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