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Autoimmune Diseases, Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada Syndrome

Rare Autoimmune Disorder Nearly Takes Baltimore Woman’s Sight

By Meredith Cohn

When Tamika Morgan developed red irritated eyes in the fall of 2010, she wasted no time heading to an optometrist at a local retail store who gave her drops for pink eye.

Her eyes got worse over the next few days so she went to a local hospital to see an ophthalmologist, but a specialist wasn’t available. A weekend passed and she landed in the office of a retina expert at another hospital, and by then she couldn’t read the big E on the vision chart.

She was legally blind.

Dr. Lisa Schocket, the retina specialist at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital’s Eye Center, suspected Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome, a rare disease that can turn a patient’s hair and skin white in addition to hampering hearing and sight. She’d only seen it one other time.

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