Dr. Clinch Finds the Answer to a Fox News Reporter’s Medical Mystery

Our very own Dr. Thomas E. Clinch was recently featured in an article by Sandra G. Boodman of The Washington Post for discovering the solution to Fox News reporter Shannon Bream’s medical nightmare. The article describes how, over an 18-month period, the 39-year old reporter endured extreme eye pain, finally finding relief upon meeting our skilled ophthalmologist.

For Shannon Bream, eye drops were the difference between mild discomfort and unbearable pain. She kept them with her at all times, having to apply the solution every couple of hours–even setting her alarm numerous times throughout the night. If Bream slept through her alarm, she would wake up to excruciating pain in the morning. As quoted by The Washington Post, Bream remembers, “I would sit there and pray for the pain to pass and just ride it out the best I could.”

After a doctor couldn’t diagnose Bream’s problem, she paid a visit to an ophthalmologist, who ended up treating her for dry eye using Restasis eye drops. When she revisited the doctor with no sign of improvement, she was told to keep using Restasis and that she must be exaggerating and being dramatic about the pain. At that point, The Washington Post details how Bream never wanted to return to his office or see any other doctor for fear of being told the same thing. She simply tried to live with the condition and kept using the Restasis for temporary relief.

Night after night, Bream would browse online message boards, looking for answers to her eye misery. She read how some people had even considered suicide because of the pain. In Sandra Boodman’s article, she mentions how Bream understood how people could think this way, as she felt exhausted from fighting the pain day after day. Realizing that she wasn’t questioning others’ thoughts of suicide was her wake-up call.

While looking at the message boards, Bream discovered several recommendations for a corneal specialist–our own Dr. Thomas Clinch. She decided to get professional help one last time and made an appointment. After meeting with Shannon Bream, Dr. Clinch knew that dry eye wasn’t the main problem. During her eye examination, he saw classic symptoms that hinted at a different eye disorder: Map-dot-fingerprint dystrophy, also known as Cogan’s dystrophy.

Map-dot-fingerprint dystrophy involves corneal erosion from small clusters of scratches on the cornea that look like fingerprints. The condition is typically found in people between the ages of 40 and 70 and causes the outer cornea layer to stick to the lower layers. The outer cornea, known as the epithelium, begins to rub off, especially during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. This can expose the nerves and result in pain. Bream could never fully recover from the cornea damage because it never had the chance to heal.

The Washington Post story tells of Dr. Clinch treating the distressed reporter with Muro 128 ointment to use at night, prescribing eye drops to go along with Restasis, and inserting tear duct plugs to help her eyes retain moisture. Bream’s eyes gradually healed, and a few weeks after visiting Dr. Clinch, she slept for 8 hours straight for the first time in over a year. Today, Shannon Bream experiences little to no symptoms of her eye condition and uses Muro 128 frequently. Once in awhile the condition will recur, but it is much easier to manage.

If you would like to learn more about Shannon Bream’s condition, or would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Clinch, please contact us today!

To read Shannon Breams’ full story, click here.

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