Ophthalmology & Optometry/I need a disease...


QUESTION: Hello Dr.,
I'm a writer and would like to know if there is any type of malady that effects the eyes in a specific way that I've come up with for one of my characters.  I hope you can think of the name of something that matches or at least comes close.  Okay, here's the symptoms.  I have a Sheriff that has been diagnosed with a very rare eye disease that is degenerative.  The poor guy is afraid to go to sleep because he knows that one day he will awake and be forever blind.  He's been told that the disease is such that when one relaxes in a slumber state, it will rob him of his sight.  Is there any such eye ailment?  This middle aged Sheriff is terrified to fall asleep because he's afraid that one day, he will go to sleep seeing and wake up blind.  Maybe something congenital?  Something so rare that there is very little documented literature on it, so much so, as to get the opthamalogical community interested in studying his case of the disease.

I hope you know of something that fits the bill for my story.  He's a Sheriff, so he has kept his malady secret, but knows the day is coming when he will lose his way of life.  He goes to sleep every night with a bedside table full of mementos of his life and the last things he feels he wants to see.  A picture of his mother and father, a graduation picture of his daughter, the bullet taken from his body, his badge, etc...

Hope to hear from you soon,

All the Best,

ANSWER: Hi JD I seem to recall answering one of your previous inquiries about one of your fictional characters .in any event nothing comes to mind as to nocturnal disease that manifests itself overnight there are however many insidious diseases that can rob one of his eyesight gradually over time. a few of them that comes to mind is retinitis pigmentosa which is a Tapeto-retinal disease, degenerative In nature ,that is slowly progressive and robs ones peripheral vision and night vision first until it closes into a tiny tunnel scope of vision  similar to looking through a straw . another is age related macular degeneration which approx 90% of the cases is slowly progressive but can be very visually debilitating to the point of legal blindness. a third that comes to mind is advanced glaucoma which if left untreated Can cause dysfunction of theoptic nerves will rob one of his vision . some other ocular diseases which are associated with systemic autoimmune diseases such as lupus ,rheumatoid arthritis , sarcoidosis, tuberculosis , herpetic viral disease, and others can cause chronic inflammation and also lead to debilitating and loss of vision . more sudden loss of vision can occur ,for example ,from a retinal detachment , a dislocated lens which can render a person blind seemingly overnight as well as trauma to the eye . I hope some of the suggestions will be helpful to you. Good luck ,  Dr. Berger

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for the folow-up, Doc.  Much appreciated...  I think I need to inject a bit of, "artistic license" here.  So perhaps you could dust off your Latin cap and maybe help me make up a congenital malady?  I like nocturnal for part of the name.  In my mind, it's was called a, "sleeping disease"  or night time diesase.  I've described it as being so rare, the doctors had to go back nearly a century to find only four cases from around the turn of the century.  The Sheriff complained of difficulty focusing when he wakes and as time has went on, he finds his eyes very crusted in the morning and actually painful for him to force them open.  
I like the narrowing of the vision part, so I think I'll work that in - many thanks for that!  

So, if you were the guy who discovered this disease, what would you call it?  Berger's syndrome?  or maybe something with a bit of Latin infused in the title??  

Lood forward to yout thoughts on this one, Doc....

Take care,


Here's One:  called it the Berger Syndrome    A rare genetic eye disease. Autosomal dominant Neovascular inflammatory Vitreoretinopathy.  Only 123 diagnosed cases in the United States with 84 being traced to one family bloodline dating back to the early 1800s. It's a condition , for which there is no treatment, where the blood vessels on the retina push forward and have terminal end bulbs, like a cluster of grapes, and hemorrhage into the eye, causing blindness.      Hope this helps. Dr Berger

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Any and all questions with regard to ocular ailments, eye diseases as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, etc , eye and visual sympomatology, eyeglasses, contact lenses, low or subnormal vision, pediatric vision conditions,and special and unique ailments will be discussed.


36 years of clinical experience in opticianry and therapeutic optometry. Still in private practice with special interests in vision conditions, diagnosing and treating ocular ailments, prescibing treatment plans which include medicine, eyeglasses, and contact lenses primarily. Although surgery is not within the realm of my area of expertise, I co-manage many pre and post -op surgical cases which include Lasik and PRK procedures.

New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians American Optometric Association

B.A.,1968, Hunter College of the City University of New York B.S.,1970, Pennsylvania College of Optometry O.D.,1973, Pennsylvania College of Optometry Therapeutic Pharmaceutical Administration Certification, New Jersey 1992

Awards and Honors
Clinical Efficiency Award, 1973, Pennsylvaania College of Optometry

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