Shannen Broodryk was driving down the M25 when her eyes randomly ‘switched off’ and she couldn’t see the road in front of her – now doctors have diagnosed her with a rare brain condition

Woman’s rare condition causes her eyes to ‘switch off’ while driving on motorway

A woman has been diagnosed with a rare brain condition that causes her eyes to unpredictably “switch off”. Shannen Broodryk was travelling on the M25 when she suddenly couldn’t see, but narrowly avoided tragedy by miraculously pulling over onto the hard shoulder.

The 28-year-old, who had complained of headaches and blurred version before, was referred to an eye hospital where she was diagnosed with idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIF) that causes excess tension on the brain.

Recalling the traumatic incident, Shannen said: “I was on my way back from Oxford and I lost my vision whilst I was driving. I could see a mixture of light but had no idea what was in front of me.

Image: Shannen Broodryk / SWNS) Shannen Broodryk / SWNS)

“It was as if somebody had put frosted glass over my eyes. I managed to get over onto the side of the motorway.

“I must have had an angel looking over me. I couldn’t do anything, I couldn’t even touch my phone.

“I just sat there in disbelief and thought this can’t be real. You never think these things will happen to you.”

The pre-school teacher, who lives in Horsham, Wiltshire, said she had other episodes where she was effectively blinded and claims her woes were not taken seriously enough.

“I had a really bad headache and I had a ringing in my ears,” she said. “I remember having a conversation with my parents and telling them it felt like my head was going to explode.

“I had never felt anything so bad.”

Image: Shannen Broodryk / SWNS) Shannen Broodryk / SWNS)

After the motorway incident, Shannen later managed to drive home and called her GP, where she was then referred to Bristol Eye Hospital for an examination.

“I was in denial that it would all be fine but my vision still wasn’t what it should have been,” she said. “I was panicked and terrified I would cause an accident.

“I don’t remember driving to the hospital but my dad eventually found my car and it was parked at a church.”

According to Shannen, the doctor asked her if she wanted to invite her family in to sit wither her.

“I was scared I was going to lose my life,” she said. “There was three conditions they had to check for – a large tumour, a blood clot through the brain or IIH.”

After going for a CT scan and a lumber puncture, they discovered Shannen had an abnormally high level of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and diagnosed her with IIF.

Image: Shannen Broodryk / SWNS) Shannen Broodryk / SWNS) Image: Shannen Broodryk / SWNS) Shannen Broodryk / SWNS)

“Most people have a CSF level of between ten and 17 but mine was above 45,” Shannen explained.

She was transferred to Southmead Hospital where medical staff fitted a thin tube to re-direct the excess fluid on her brain.

“I couldn’t see the doctors in front of me. I had a shunt inserted in my brain and it saved my sight,” Shannen said.

Shannen, who lives with husband Joshua, 29, still suffers with her condition and has to take medication to manage the symptoms.

“The swelling went down but the affects are still very much alive,” she said. “The pressure ruptured both of my retinas.

“I lost my driving license for two years and I lost my job. If I could go back, I would’ve gone straight to A&E.”

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