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For Ken had giant cell arteritis (GCA), inflammation of the arteries which supply the head; this then blocks the blood supply to the optic nerve.
After their sight loss, three of the ten people ended up in residential homes.GCA is related to polymyalgia rheumatica, an inflammatory illness that causes severe pain and stiffness in the muscles — which affects thousands of Britons every year; around a tenth of them will develop GCA.I developed giant cell arteritis more than two years ago and a GP advised the wrong treatment.He is virtually blind after doctors failed to realise he had GCA.What is remarkable about Barry’s case is he was so ill he was hospitalised with symptoms that included several signs of GCA — as well as double and blurred vision, he had a severe headache and a sensitive scalp.Luckily, a doctor I knew told me I needed a massive dose of the steroid prednisolone to reduce the inflammation and I suffered no loss of vision.
As head of News and Current Affairs at Channel 4, I am used to covering stories about people getting terrible, preventable diseases in developing countries, but it horrifies me that so many people in Britain are going blind unnecessarily.
Yet timely steroids — which cost a few pounds — can prevent what the paper calls ‘large healthcare costs and catastrophic psychological and social costs’.
The authors say there must be increased awareness of GCA and recommend a mandatory ‘fast track’ treatment.
The hospital said her blindness was caused by GCA, but it was too late to do anything.
A research paper about to be published makes depressing reading.
Barry Peck, a former office worker from Nunthorpe, Middlesbrough, used to love cycling in the countryside.