Can you please help us? My husband got severe malaria and now he’s blind. He stayed 33 days in hospital.
We live in Portugal. My husband came back from Africa (Angola) on 2nd June 2012. On 3rd June he started feeling ill. He got worse next days. The symptoms were strong headache, high fever, chills, delirium, vomit, couldn’t breathe and weakness. He went to hospital on 7th June. On 8th June was diagnosed with Malaria (Plasmodium Falciparum). Doctors induced him in a coma (10 days) so he could breathe through a machine. He got kidney’s failure, cardiovascular collapse (he needed to be reanimated) and severe anemia. Doctors thought he would die… He woke up from coma on 18th June. On 19th June he couldn’t see anything, it was all dark… First Doctors told us it was due to the quinine treatment, that when quinine come out from the blood he would recover vision. Later exams revealed optic nerve damages. Sometimes he sees images only during few seconds… Can you help us? Do you think this blindness is reversible? Is there any treatment we can do? Are you aware of cases like this? He has 35 years old, we are in panic… Thank you in advance.
I think I have answered this question within one of the comments sections on the website, but will briefly address it here as well. Your doctors are right – the blindness is probably a side effect of the intravenous quinine treatment, which likely saved your husband’s life, but the high dosage is also somewhat toxic to the body. Most patients do recover their vision eventually; one report which I read said that in the short term, treatment with charcoal derivatives can help to lower quinine levels in the blood, thus encouraging faster recovery.