A Brisbane, Australia teenager has suffered an awful complication from a sinus infection that resulted in blindness in his left eye.
The blindness, according to News Hub, resulted from pressure on the optic nerve causing orbital cellulitis. The blindness is irreversible, but Reilly Adams is otherwise recovering from the sinus infection.
This is just one of the many potential side effects of a nasty sinus infection. A particularly common condition associated with sinus infections is chronic rhinosinusitis.
In chronic sinusitis cases, patients show resistance to treatment and have swollen nasal passages for at least 12 consecutive weeks. Though this doesn’t generally cause the type of inflammation that led to blindness in Riely Adams, it can be both aggravating and excruciating for the afflicted.
The symptoms include difficulty breathing, inflammation around the eyes, facial pain and pressure, headaches, congestion, ear pain, mucus drainage from the nose and into the throat, and teeth or jaw pain. A chronic sinus condition essentially feels like a cold that lasts for at least three months and cannot be treated.
Luckily, there’s a treatment that can bring about relief. Balloon sinuplasty involves gently opening the sinuses with an inflatable medical balloon. In fact, 95% of patients who received this treatment report it relieving their symptoms.
The only difficulty with this procedure is that it might not be covered under certain insurance plans. In a 2014 Commonwealth Fund report, 21% of all Americans claimed to have paid $2,000 or more out of pocket in medical expenses.
Evaluating the cost of having a balloon sinuplasty procedure might seem like an obvious choice for the afflicted, however, as many sinusitis sufferers report being in unbearable discomfort.
Then there are the individuals like young Mr. Adams, who had contracted a spontaneous and all too serious sinus infection while on a cruise to New Zealand, cut off from access to medical treatment that could otherwise have saved his eyesight.
As an athlete and aspiring pilot, a major wrench has been thrown in Reily Adams’s plans for the future.
“As a teenager everyone has dreams, and two of my son’s dreams are out of the question now,” Reilly’s father said.