Natalie Rance: ‘Second Sight’ - a film for Moorfields
7 January 2020
Natalie is a film producer who suffered from a severe, rare parasitic eye condition. Although she was not a patient at Moorfields, she decided to make a film to help fund our research.
Natalie was just about to begin studying for an MA Wildlife Filmmaking at university when she began experiencing severe problems with her left eye.
She had agonising pain and intense light sensitivity, followed by rapid sight loss. She was terrified.
After visiting her doctor and trying out a number of treatments, Natalie discovered that she had contracted a rare, waterborne parasitic eye condition called acanthamoeba keratitis (AK), possibly from her contact lenses.
What is acanthamoeba keratitis (AK)?
Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) is an infection of the cornea, caused by a microscopic organism. It is very rare, extremely painful, and can cause permanent visual impairment or even blindness.
AK is usually found in bodies of water such as rivers, swimming pools. It can even be found in soil and air.
Little is known about this condition and it can be difficult to diagnose because many of the symptoms are similar to other microbial corneal infections.
Around 85 per cent of AK cases are associated with contact lens wear
AK affects just 125 people per year in the UK
There are currently no licensed medicines to treat it. It is also particularly difficult to treat because it is resistant to many forms of therapy such as antibiotics.
Unfortunately Natalie’s strain of AK was very resistant. Eventually she had to have an emergency corneal transplant, lens removal and iris surgery to try to restore her vision.
She still doesn’t know whether she will ever regain full sight again in her left eye - but she’s optimistic.
Natalie’s film - ‘Second Sight’
Natalie has gone through a lot since contracting AK, but most people don’t know a lot about the condition – if anything at all.
To raise awareness, she decided to produce a short documentary about AK and the importance of donating your cornea after you die.
Even though she was not a patient at Moorfields, Natalie has chosen to donate the proceeds of her film to Moorfields Eye Charity to continue funding vital research and equipment.
My experience of AK has provided me an overwhelming new appreciation for my sight, the doctors who have fought so hard to try and save it, and the donor who gifted me with a second chance at sight. Now, I want to give something back.