can bird poop make you go blind

A young woman in Fredericton is singing on the street to call attention to the disease that made her blind.

Cryptococcus meningitis is a potentially fatal swelling of the membranes surrounding the brain. The disease is caused by fungus that lives in the guts of pigeons and other birds, such as chickens.

The 24-year-old was living in a house that had a pile of pigeon feces in the attic, and she also had a compromised immune system from chemotherapy .

“A reverse migraine — I needed light, I needed sound. I needed neck massages. Couldnt lay down, couldnt sit up. Couldnt eat. I was vomiting. And then I started having double vision, quadruple vision, then seizures. And then I ended up in hospital,” she said as she described her symptoms.

“I think its pretty common sense. Move to avoid being in a situation where there are a lot of pigeon droppings, particularly if youre disturbing them, cleaning them up, sweeping them,” Forward said.

“Those kind of situations should certainly be avoided. But if youre in the park that has some pigeons around, I think the risk is infinitely small.”

Pigeons are part of the urban landscape, but they are known to carry a long list of disease-causing organisms — such as Chlamydia and salmonella.

That, along with complaints about them damaging roofs, led Fredericton to add pigeons to the citys animal control bylaw last year.

Richards wants to make sure people know the risk of coming into contact with pigeon feces.

“To draw attention, to raise awareness so people will ask questions, so they will know what the symptoms are,” Richards said. “So that way, they can be warned ahead of time, before what happened to me happens to them.”

Next month, shell be going to a school sponsored by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind to finish high school and to get matched with a seeing-eye dog.

More Than Tired Eyes

As expected, I felt fine by the end of the weekend. Even the thought of that 6:30 AM alarm clock for the following morning didn’t bother me too much. (After all, I had less than 20 days until my four-week semester break!) But on Monday morning, as soon as the news started on the radio, I peered out from under the pillow. and I was unable to see the radio because my right eye was so tired. And even as I made the 46-mile drive to work, it seemed like my eyes were having trouble focusing. But Mondays are the days when nothing ever goes exactly as planned.

But my eye condition worsened over the course of the following two weeks. Lines that were straight didn’t appear that way. Even telephone poles curved. I would see what appeared to be two cars about to collide, only to find out later that I was seeing double. In addition to the lengthy commute to work, I had to travel in order to oversee student teachers. This wasn’t the time to call in sick . I tried to ignore it, assuming that my body was either singing the over-30 blues or collapsing uncharacteristically early for the Christmas break. Still, I thought, perhaps an eye examination was in order.

A Not-So-Rare, Dangerous Disease

Eventually, I went to see a reputable family optometrist, and everything seemed normal enough until he said, “I need to get some pictures to show you.” Then, he drew some diagrams that indicated trouble in addition to explaining how the interior of the eye is assembled. He thought my symptoms were serious enough to schedule an appointment for me to see an ophthalmologist at a nearby university hospital. It appears that I had symptoms of a disease he hadn’t seen in 20 years. (My thoughts began to race: Christmas was coming up in less than a week.) I had to go shopping. Finals needed to be graded. And all of this was just the result of pressure, wasn’t it?).

Three days later, the ophthalmologist prodded, poked, and took a picture of my right eye while asking about my living situation and whether I had ever interacted with pigeons or other birds. He went on to say that I had presumed ocular histoplasmosis, which is a very active case of the disease. It appears that Histoplasma capsulatum fungus spores entered my body between ten and thirty years ago. probably through my lungs. The slight symptoms they caused at the time may have led me to believe I had a cold. However, for some reason, the microscopic spores moved to my eyes, where they created dormant scars known as “histo spots,” rather than settling in the breathing tissue as they usually do.

Now, I was told, the histo scars had come alive. Probably the cold before Thanksgiving sparked the activation. From then, the spots began to produce blood vessels, probably as a result of the stress I had been under at work. The abnormally small ducts were causing the blurred vision and bent-looking telephone poles as they moved from the scars to the macula lutea, the area of the eye’s central vision devoid of blood vessels.

The cure? There was none. The physician said he would attempt to photocoagulate, or burn, the vessels using a laser. Maybe that would stop them from spreading. He estimated that I had a 70% chance of regaining most of my sight. (The tiny lasered spot, however, would never have vision again. ).

Well, the whole thing sounded pretty shaky to me . all those maybes and probablys! Why was the specialist clueless? Could it really be that 20 years ago, when I came into contact with some bird droppings, that I’m losing my sight?

Following all of this explanation and diagram creation, the images were created. And it was clear that things had gotten worse when the doctor saw the pictures. He wasn’t prepared for how close the blood vessels were to the macula. He made the snap decision to postpone the laser treatment until after the holidays. It would be less than 24 hours away . on Christmas Eve. Upon hearing that news, I couldn’t have felt more than scared. This was certainly not the semester break I’d hoped for!.

“I think its pretty common sense. Avoid being in an area where pigeon droppings are abundant, especially if you’re disturbing, sweeping, or cleaning them up,” Forward advised.

I’ll be attending a school run by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind next month to complete my high school education and be paired with a seeing-eye dog.

Richards stated, “To raise awareness and draw attention so people will ask questions so they will know what the symptoms are.” “In this manner, they can receive warnings in advance, preventing them from experiencing what happened to me.” “.

“Those kind of situations should certainly be avoided. However, I believe the risk is negligible if you’re in a park where there are pigeons. “.

“A reverse migraine — I needed light, I needed sound. I needed neck massages. Couldnt lay down, couldnt sit up. Couldnt eat. I was vomiting. After that, I experienced quadruple vision, double vision, and seizures. And after that, I ended up in the hospital,” she remarked, describing her condition.


Can bird poop damage your eyes?

POHS occurs when the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum affects the eyes. This condition is more common in the central U.S. in areas where the soil has high levels of bird and bat poop. If you are at risk, regular check-ups enable healthcare providers to detect early histoplasmosis symptoms.

What should I do if I get bird poop in my eye?

As long as you were able to wash the eye out, I’d just keep a check on the eye for redness, drainage or pain. If any of these come about, your Dr may need to give you some antibiotic eye drops for the possible infection. Try not to worry about it too much, these things can happen.

Is bird poop toxic to humans?

But on your property, the occasional bird poop is not necessarily dangerous. The problem is when there is a lot of it, especially when it is in an enclosed or small space. Birds can carry many pathogens that are harmful to humans.

How do I know if I have histoplasmosis?

In most cases, histoplasmosis causes mild flu-like symptoms that appear between 3 and 17 days after exposure to the fungus. These symptoms include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, cough and chest discomfort. In these milder forms, most symptoms go away on their own in a few weeks or within a month.