What is Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome?

Doctors whose last names were Vogt, Koyanagi and Harada were the first ones to write about this syndrome. People who have the syndrome have a change in their skin, eyes and hair.

What causes Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome?

The syndrome is caused by a sickness that feels like a cold or the flu. People who have the sickness become dizzy and sick to their stomachs. They get ear infections and cannot hear well while they are sick. Their eyes hurt and light bothers them a lot. The eye condition is called uveitis. It is an infection of the inside of the eye. It may cause the retina to pull away from the back of the eye. This is called retinal detachment. The retina holds all of the nerves that collect visual information. You can read about retinal detachment on this website. As they get well, they lose some of their hair. Some of their skin and some of their hair gets white. Their hearing usually returns, but they keep having trouble seeing.

What kind of vision do people have who have Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome?

People who have Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome have blurry vision. Sometimes they say it looks like lines or stars are passing through their eyes. They may lose all of their vision if their retinas become detached. (Please look up retinal detachment on this website.) If they are not diagnosed early, they may get glaucoma or cataracts, which you can read about on this website.

What will help you if you have Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome?

The vision of people who have Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome is not all the same.
You can look through these ideas and choose the ones you think might help you.

  1. Wear sunglasses and hat with a dark brim if bright light bothers you.
  2. Try to get lights indoors that you can adjust yourself. Sit or stand so that light comes from behind you or from the side.
  3. Try making things bigger with a computer or a CCTV.
  4. Make sure that the thing you want to see is against something plain and of a different color. You may want to make the background on the computer or CCTV dark and the letters light.
  5. If you have lost too much vision to read print, learn braille and use listening to learn. Learning to use a white cane for travel will also be helpful.

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