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Woman explains illness online

Woman explains illness online

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Taifa Finlayson was 1 year old when she was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. The autoimmune disease causes her to go blind.

For four years, Taifa Finlayson of Ontario, Canada, couldn't go out or go about her daily life because of pain. The reason for this is the so-called juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA): an autoimmune disease that the Canadian woman was diagnosed with when she was only one year old. Due to mismanagement of the immune system, the joints and skin are initially affected by chronic inflammation. The disease later spread to her eyes, leaving her blind on her right side when she was twelve years old. On the social media platform TikTok (@taivafinlayson), the young woman explains her illness and allows her followers to share the story of her ordeal.

The immune system attacks the eyes: A young woman went blind and had her eyeball removed

“The infection had damaged the eye so badly that there was no stopping it,” Taifa Finlayson told the British news portal. Need to knowWith juvenile idiopathic arthritis, the joints of toddlers, children, and adolescents are usually initially inflamed. This is a relatively rare disease overall (about 4-5 children per 100,000). However, it is the most common chronic inflammatory rheumatic disease in children, affecting boys and girls equally. The causes of the autoimmune disease are not yet known. Immune predisposition as well as viral and bacterial infections are suspected as possible triggers.

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A young Canadian woman goes blind due to an autoimmune disease. When her eyeball is removed, she feels better. (Symbolic image) © Lisa Lederer/IMAGO

When Tavia Finlayson goes blind, her condition begins to deteriorate. If you are blind for a long time, your eyes can shrink. “Just like grapes that turn into raisins,” she explains. Need to knowThe TikToker then suffers from severe pain that greatly impacts her daily life and well-being. She compares the pain the young woman has to endure during this time as: “Like when you get a really bad scratch in your eye or when sand irritates your eye – except this happens every day, all day long, and in 2023 it will.” She was finally freed from the condition when doctors at St Joseph’s Hospital in London surgically removed her right eyeball.

A young woman had her eyeball removed due to an autoimmune disease

The Canadian woman said she cried tears of joy when her doctor referred her to the surgeon. “Because I was so happy and ready to be free of pain,” said Tavia Finlayson. Her quality of life has already changed since the operation, and she wasn’t just in pain before. “I was so self-conscious about my blind eye before because it looked so distorted and discolored. I had trouble making eye contact and taking a picture. I always tried to cover it.” After the successful treatment, she also received a prosthetic eye. (GBR)