Saving Sight in Grampian came to the rescue of Scott Harper!
Scott began to feel that the vision of his left eye was becoming poor in late 2009. Initially, it was not clear what the problem was, and so he received treatment for viral infections and for inflammation in his retina. Gradually the sight recovered partially and for a few weeks things were fine. However, on the day he was about to sit his fifth year School Highers examinations he suddenly woke up blind in both eyes. It was clear to the doctors that he had developed a very severe form of uveitis, associated with a condition known as Behcet’s disease. He was immediately placed on an intravenous drip of powerful steroids, as well as a new treatment for sight-threatening uveitis, interferon alpha.
Research in the Saving Sight in Grampian laboratory, at Aberdeen University, has shown that patients with severe forms of uveitis, have a defect in certain blood cells which make them deficient in interferon alpha. Interferon alpha is an important natural protein which helps to protect us from autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and uveitis and if we can’t make it we become ill. Fortunately for Scott, we were able to treat him resulting in a full recovery which allowed him to continue his education at college in Aberdeen. Scott’s story highlights the very great importance of research in finding cures for severe disabling illness!