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Monsters Inside Me: The Organ Shredder

Animal Planet – December 3

The series, Monsters Inside Me, explores a patients’ symptoms through to diagnosis, treatment and prevention. In upstate New York, Bryan Van Wagenen, a young father, struggles with a monster that threatens to blind him. Brian went to the ophthalmologist with an irritated eye, and was diagnosed with iritis. After being prescribed with steroids, his eye pain continued to get worse. He decided to go to a different ophthalmologist for a second opinion. He was then diagnosed with Herpes Simplex virus. After a couple more weeks, Bryan noticed his entire eye turning white, like something was growing on it. Without a clear diagnosis, Bryan decided it was time to see a specialist, and found David Ritterband, MD, professor of ophthalmology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, director of refractive surgery for the Mount Sinai Health System, director of the laser vision correction center and surgeon director at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai. Dr. Ritterband immediately noticed something troubling. “He had a white spot in the shape of a ring that was covering three quarters of his cornea,” said Dr. Ritterband. After multiple tests, he found that Bryan was infected with a bacterial virus. “I diagnosed Bryan with Acanthamoeba Keratitis,” Dr. Ritterband said. The parasite moves across the eyeball feeding and growing. After a week on powerful eye drops, Bryan noticed a welcoming change.

  • David Ritterband, MD, Professor, Ophthalmology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Director, Refractive Surgery, Mount Sinai Health System, Director, Laser Vision Correction Center, Surgeon Director, New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai
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