Bouncer Left Blind In One Eye After Contracting Shingles (And Has Had Condition 33 Times Since)

'Life has changed completely...'

Graphic Image Warning: This article contains images that some people may find distressing

A woman told of how she has been left blind in one eye after getting shingles thirty three times – and now barely leaves the house for fear she'll spread the contagious infection.

Sarah Hobday, 36, developed painful and swollen lumps under her right eyelid and, within weeks, she could barely see.

Diagnosed in 2011, Miss Hobday, of Lincoln, says her life has been turned upside down by the infectious condition - and doctors are baffled by the recurrence too.

Sarah Hobday, 36, developed painful and swollen lumps under her right eyelid - and within weeks she could barely see.
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Sarah Hobday, 36, developed painful and swollen lumps under her right eyelid - and within weeks she could barely see.

"I woke up one morning in September 2011 and thought I had something in my eye," she said.

"I thought nothing of it, but it kept getting worse.

"I thought I had a bit of grit in my eye or just a eyelash, I never thought it could be as bad as this.

"But soon my eye was burning red, swollen and my vision started to go blurry."

She visited her doctor, but the prescribed eye drops did nothing.

Within a few weeks, desperate Miss Hobday returned to see medics in excruciating pain, and was taken straight to Lincoln County Hospital's eye clinic.

There, she was diagnosed with shingles and given medication to treat her symptoms.

But it still did not get any better - and the infection started spreading up her neck and face.

"I was getting very ill and had to give up work and my social activities as I could hardly see," she said.

"My eye was weeping really badly all the time and was very itchy. The pain was awful too, like I was being kicked against a brick wall."

Sarah Hobday
PA Real Life
Sarah Hobday

Before she was diagnosed, Miss Hobday lived a normal life of a woman in her thirties.

Getting dressed up, going to the pub and socialising with friends were the mainstays of her weekly calendar.

She loved her job working in security and played trombone in a band - but all that soon came to a grinding halt.

She's now been forced to give up her job as a security guard and, five years on, barely leaves her home for fear of spreading the contagious condition.

She has also had bouts of depression as a result of the condition.

"I just don't understand why I kept on getting it and neither do the doctors" she said.

"I have been admitted in and out of hospitals, have gone to different clinics too, but nothing happened.

"Weeks and months turned into years, and I just kept on getting shingles - always in the same place, from my neck upwards.

"I wake up everyday praying to have a good day and not be in pain anymore and not to have shingles."

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Medics said they had never seen anyone have shingles as many times as Miss Hobday has, and are sure she will continue to get them for the rest of her life.

"Now that I can only see out of one eye, life has changed completely," she said.

"I am okay if I go out to places I have been before, but if I haven't then I am bumping into everything.

"It's an awful way to live and it has completely changed my life."

Dr Anjali Mahto, consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson, said: "It's possible to get shingles more than once, but having it 33 times is very unusual.

"Most people usually get a rash but a small minority find that it can affect their eyes. "Conditions like this can have a huge impact on a person's day-to-day life, crushing self-confidence and sometimes even leading to depression."