Fox News Anchor and Christian Sister Shannon Bream Describes Painful Battle With Genetic Eye Disease

Shannon Bream
Shannon Bream

“You know what I think? You’re very emotional.”

Those were the words of a specialist I’d sought out months into an agonizing battle with chronic pain—and no answers. I’d driven nearly an hour to get to him for multiple appointments, but that day, I vowed I’d never go back. It was all I could do to get to my car before I burst into tears.

‘Searing Pain In One Eye’

Let’s backtrack a bit: My chronic pain began months earlier, in February of 2010 when, one night, I was jolted awake with searing pain in one eye—It felt as if someone was slashing my eyeball with a hot poker.

I stumbled through the darkness, into my bathroom in search of eye drops, which I thought would dull the pain. No such luck—the pain lingered for hours and soon it was time for me to get up and head to work.

It was an odd experience, and one I couldn’t explain. I gladly put it behind me until days later, when it happened again. Hunched over in agony, I prayed for relief. It didn’t come quickly. I made an appointment with my optometrist the minute his office opened.

After a thorough examination, he warned I was heading into a period in my life (I was 39 at the time—just another perk of getting older) when dry eyes were likely to be a problem for me. That, combined with decades of wearing contact lenses, meant I’d need to find ways to rest my eyes.

He couldn’t explain the intense pain, but he acknowledged that I was suffering during those episodes. When it happened again, he counseled me to look for a specialist.

As I searched for someone who would be able to treat me, the eye pain got worse, showing up more and more often at night, but not as much during the day.

I started wearing my contacts overnight—something ophthalmologists vehemently warn against—because, oddly enough, I didn’t get the nighttime attacks when I wore them.

“I was desperate for sleep, but I knew there was a good chance I’d wake up in excruciating pain.”

I explained these unusual symptoms to the highly recommended specialist I’d found—the same one I referenced earlier—and he didn’t offer me much of a diagnosis. Instead, he made a couple of suggestions to lessen the pain and asked me to come back after some time had passed.

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SOURCE: Women’s Health Magazine