My sight disappeared twice during my pregnancy
I lost my sight giving birth to my second baby – after pregnancy triggered a rare condition
- Amie Bridson, 36, had never had problems with her sight before falling pregnant for a second time with her son, Oscar, now three
- On Boxing Day in 2019, she woke up and found her vision had gone completely
- Read more: Pregnant Jessie J is ‘filming a documentary exploring her career relaunch, miscarriage and love life’ – as she prepares to welcome her first child
A mother-of-two has revealed how pregnancy triggered a ‘terrifying’ rare sight condition – which made her lose her vision.
Amie Bridson, 36, from Chester, had enjoyed a happy Christmas in 2019, when she woke up on Boxing Day to find her vision had completely gone.
She was sent to hospital by her opticians and while her sight returned after three days, undergoing a C-section while giving birth unleashed the condition again.
Amie spent the first weeks of her newborn’s life with distorted vision and now, three years later, she still has issues with her sight.
Amie said: ‘Doctors told me I’d developed this unexplained medical condition which predominantly impacts my sight. I’ve had to deal with it ever since.’
Amie Bridson, 36, had never had problems with her sight before falling pregnant with her second child, now three
Amie went to sleep on Christmas Day in 2019 completely fine. But the next morning she woke up blind. The mum-of-two recalls desperately rubbing her eyes and splashing them with water in the hope her vision would return.
She spent the whole of Boxing Day unable to see, before making an emergency appointment with the opticians the next day.
It was there that Amie was informed if she didn’t go to hospital within the next few hours she’d be blind forever.
Amie, a business manager, said: ‘The whole of Boxing Day I couldn’t see a thing. So we went to the opticians the first thing the next morning. They told me the optic nerve in the back of my eye was severely swollen, and the intercranial pressure was causing sight loss.
Pictured after baby Oscar was born in 2020; a C-section triggered distorted vision caused by Idiopathic Intercranial Hypertension (IIH), which lasted several weeks
Amie must now live with Idiopathic Intercranial Hypertension (IIH), which causes pressure headaches and balance issues
Doctors believe the rare condition could have resulted from Amie’s increased hormones during pregnancy – but they can’t say for sure
What is Idiopathic Intracranial hypertension (IIH)
Idiopathic Intracranial hypertension (IIH) is a rare condition affecting about one or two in every 100,000 people, most of them women, but men and children can also be affected.
The space around the brain is filled with water like fluid known as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). IIH is a neurological condition in which there is too much CSF present, which causes pressure around the brain.
This causes headaches, swelling of the optic nerves (papillodema) and can result in loss of vision or blindness.
Common symptoms of IIH are:
- Severe headache
- Loss of field of vision and rarely of central vision
- Transient blurred vision
- Double vision
- Photophobia (light sensitivity)
- Pulsatile tinnitus (‘whooshing noise’ in the ears in time with the pulse)
She adds: ‘But they didn’t know why – all they knew was I needed to go to hospital immediately, so they rung me an ambulance. And it’s their initial diagnosis which ultimately saved my sight.’
Amie underwent multiple scans and a lumber puncture at hospital.
The tests confirmed the high pressure in her skull from excess cerebrospinal fluid.
And she was diagnosed with Idiopathic Intercranial Hypertension (IIH). Doctors believe this could have resulted from Amie’s increased hormones during pregnancy – but they can’t say for sure.
She regained her vision three days later after surgeons regulated the pressure in her skull. But her C-section in April 2020 triggered the condition again and Amie’s vison became bent and distorted for weeks.
Three years later she is still battling the effects of her IIH diagnosis. Son Oscar, now three, was born without any other complications. She said: ‘I was told I needed a C-section as the pushing that comes with regular birth would exert too much pressure on my brain.
‘But during the operation I felt my vision going again and suddenly everything I was looking at was at a right angle.
‘We were unable to leave the ward as it was the height of covid, and the heat was unbearable as they had no air conditioning on to try and stop the spread of covid.
‘It was the most horrific experience of my life, and my sight stayed like that for two weeks after.
The doctors were able to release the pressure again and I was eventually discharged, but the effects of IIH are permanent.
‘It’s like living with a brain tumour without actually having a tumour, and at the moment there’s no cure.
When an episode occurs, Amie has to ‘wait it out’ for her vision to go back to normal
‘The constant symptoms are a loud drumming and pulsing in the ear, pressure headaches, fullness in the head, neck ache, and balance issues.
‘I’ve returned to hospital twice since when it’s felt like my vision was going again, but was told both times to just wait it out.
‘IIH effects less than two percent of the population, and I want to share my story to raise awareness, and support others suffering from this life-changing condition.’
To find out more information about IIH visit www.iih.org.uk.
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