Ascension Sacred Heart helps treat rare vision loss disorder


Last year, while working at a hospital in Mobile, Alabama, Ciara Nobles’ eyesight became blurry.

The 27-year-old had been suffering from severe migraines for a year and was taking medication to try to fix the problem, but on December 13 things suddenly got worse.

“I was at work one day and my left eye went completely blank, completely blacked out,” Nobles said. “And I thought it would come back right away because I had had blurry and dizzy episodes. But that day it didn’t come back. I waited about 10 minutes and it didn’t come back. “

Innovation at Sacred Heart:Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital Trials New Cardiac Monitoring Device in Pensacola | PICTURES

You can like:Why these Pensacola-raised doctors all went home to practice medicine

She went to see an ophthalmologist and a neurologist before being placed in the care of Dr. Nathan Kohler, an interventional neuroradiologist at the Ascension Sacred Heart Advanced Brain and Spine Institute in Pensacola. Kohler diagnosed him with intracranial hypertension, a disorder that causes a buildup of pressure in the fluid surrounding the brain.

Intracranial hypertension is a rare disease that affects approximately 1 in 100,000 people per year, most often young women. But over the past year, Kohler has performed 12 surgeries to treat the disorder.

“The problem is that it’s hard to be aware of this issue because it’s so vague,” Kohler said. “It’s so vague for a patient, it’s vague for clinicians. Until it’s identified and people start losing their sight, it can take years and they can suffer for a very long time. “

As an analogy to describe the disease, Kohler compared intracranial hypertension to a reservoir of water with one entrance and another narrower exit. Water enters the tank faster than it can escape, and the liquid builds up and creates pressure and tension.

Dr. Nathan Kohler is an interventional neuroradiologist at the Ascension Sacred Heart Advanced Brain and Spine Institute.

In case you missed it:These community leaders help people with disabilities live with opportunity and dignity In the case of intracranial hypertension, this buildup occurs in the skull and can lead to headaches, temporary loss of vision, ringing in the ears, a stiff neck or memory problems.

To solve this problem, Kohler used a procedure called venous sinus stenting. This means putting a thin catheter inserted through a small incision in the upper leg or groin and advancing a stent, or small tube, to the brain. It uses the stent to reach sinus venous, the large drainage veins behind people’s head, allowing blood to pass easily and regulating fluid in the vein to prevent pooling.

According to the National Eye Institute, the disorder is rare and the cause is unknown, but some people are at higher risk. It is more common in women between the ages of 20 and 50, and being overweight or obese makes intracranial hypertension more likely.

Kohler said he’s seen raised intracranial pressure in both overweight and lean people, but said staying healthy and changing your eating habits can help prevent the disease. He also recommended that people make sure to see a doctor whenever they experience vision loss.

Nobles was diagnosed with diabetes a month before losing his sight. After her Dec. 13 event, she made lifestyle changes like cutting out fatty foods and alcohol and seeing a trainer three times a week. She had her operation in March and a few weeks later in April, as she drove her daughter to school for the first time since her vision loss, her sight slowly returned.

After dropping off her daughter, she ran to her grandmother crying. She called Kohler’s office shouting into the phone, “I can see!”

Nobles initially felt depressed by her condition, but said she stayed strong for her daughter and is now sharing her experience to help educate others.

“I’m a really positive person so people came to me anyway before this happened for advice… but now I feel like I have a purpose to be positive and a purpose to talk to people,” Nobles said.


Comments are closed.