Keryl-Anne Studley and her son Kohan, 2 take a break from playing at a park in Redbank Plains. Keryl-Anne was told she had to lose weight to retain her sight.
Keryl-Anne Studley and her son Kohan, 2 take a break from playing at a park in Redbank Plains. Keryl-Anne was told she had to lose weight to retain her sight. Claudia Baxter

So overweight I almost went blind

IMAGINE being told you have to lose an extreme amount of weight or you will go blind.

Ipswich mum Keryl-Anne Studley knew something wasn't right when she started having headaches and found herself straining to read.

She made an appointment at Specsavers at Redbank Plaza to see optometrist Matthew Walcott.

When Matthew looked at Ms Studley's retinas he knew something was wrong and referred her to an ophthalmologist.

With concerns that Ms Studley might have a brain tumour, she was immediately sent to hospital for a lumbar puncture and MRIs.

What Keryl heard next was something she could not have expected in her wildest dreams.

Because of her weight, Ms Studley had developed a condition where she had too much brain fluid and it was affecting her sight.

There was a real risk that if it was untreated Ms Studley would one day wake up blind.

Fortunately her condition was treatable but what she had to do wasn't going to be easy.

Ms Studley was 65kg overweight when she was diagnosed with idiopathic intracranial hypertension, a condition that made her optic disc swell.

“I was petrified because I had a five-year-old daughter at the time,” she said.

“I was told I could either go on Digoxin or lose weight. If I went on the tablets I had to be on them for the rest of my life and I didn't want to be relying on medication so I chose weight loss.

“I just watched what I ate, did personal training and tried to keep up with the kids.

“You do fall off the bandwagon as everybody does; life becomes busy. In the meantime I had another little baby. He's my energetic little monster. He's my great little man.

To date Keryl-Anne has lost 35kg and she says she has 30 to go.

“I was told I had to lose at least 10 per cent of my bodyweight. At that stage I was up around the 130 kilos – pretty heavy. I was a size 26. Now I'm a size 16 so I'm pretty impressed with that,” she said with a giggle. “Some days I don't feel it, some days I don't think I look it. But clothes don't lie.

“When you look at it, I've lost the equivalent of my daughter basically. And I've got another one to lose. I want to lose another 30 kilos for me. I want to stay on it and do it for me.

“I've told so many people if they've got headaches, ‘Just go and see Matthew'. Because Matthew is just brilliant and if it wasn't for him I probably wouldn't have my vision today.

“I'll call in occasionally and just say hello to Matthew. I only go to see Matthew, my children only see Matthew; I won't go anywhere else. He basically saved meAnd if he moves I'll track him down. And I've told him that.

Keryl wants to find out more about her condition and maybe one day travel around schools educating young women.

“It's scary when you think of the number of overweight girls and women out there,” she said.

“It can happen to any pre-menopausal woman.”

 

Warning Signs

Blurred vision.

Buzzing sound in the ears.

Dizziness.

Nausea.

Increased head size.

Swelling of the optic nerve.

Occurs more often in obese women about to go through menopause.



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