Fox News anchor Shannon Bream had a dry eye condition that left her in so much pain, she thought about taking her own life. Thankfully, she was able to move on and get past those dark thoughts after finding some helpful treatments.
Bream's eye pain started after her 40th birthday, with intense stabbing sensations in her eyes that woke her up in the middle of the night. She would feel the stabbing pain anytime she would sleep longer than a few hours. In order to prevent the pain, she would set alarms to wake her every hour or two to put in eye drops.
"I was in searing pain. I couldn't get any rest," Bream recalls.
Even with carrying eye drops with her everywhere and putting them in her eyes every few hours, she still felt extreme discomfort. Her dry eye pain even triggered double vision and severe migraines.
She went on like this for two years. Her doctor could not help her and didn't have a diagnosis for her condition.
"He told me he thought I was being too emotional," Bream said. "That put me into a tailspin - I'm desperate for any lifeline, any diagnosis, any treatment to help me through this nightmare, and my doctor was questioning my sanity. That was really hurtful. I felt like no one was going to help me."
Shannon Bream Tries To Find Answers For Her Dry Eye Pain
In her desperation, Shannon Bream searched the internet and read message boards to see if there were other people out there that could relate to her symptoms.
"There were people talking about how the only way out was to take their own life. And that didn't seem crazy or unreasonable to me at all," she shares. "I was two years into it. I was in my early 40s, and I said, ‘No way I could live another 40 years like that. If all of my waking hours are in pain, what is the point of going on?'"
Bream confided in her husband how she thought about how nice it would be if she went to sleep and didn't wake up. Her pain was so great that she just didn't feel like she could go on for much longer.
"We are going to start over," her husband, Sheldon Bream, said to her. "I don't care if we have to go around the whole world and we have to spend every dime we have in the bank. This is our priority, and we're going to get through this together."
Thankfully, Shannon found Dr. Thomas Clinch, an excellent eye doctor in Washington, D.C. He diagnosed Bream with chronic erosion syndrome exacerbated by corneal map-dot-fingerprint dystrophy.
Dr. Clinch told Bream that her chronic condition was treatable and that about 2 percent of the population suffers from it. He let her know about the treatment strategies they would focus on and how their goal was to strengthen the adhesion between the skin cells and the cornea.
Shannon Bream’s Dry Eye Treatment Gave Her Her Life Back
Within a few weeks of her treatment, Shannon was able to sleep through the night without any pain, a first for her in over two years.
"It really gave me my life back," Bream explained. "My eyes are never going to be perfect. But they're 95 percent better. I do occasionally have a little pain here and there overnight. It's nothing, nothing like the pain I had before. It actually will subside in five minutes and I go back to sleep. It's not hours and hours and double vision and triggering migraines. It's very minor and very infrequent."
Bream shares how she is incredibly grateful for how God got her through this painful season. "When I get out of bed in the morning, I literally say a prayer," says Bream. "The first thing I do is thank God that I got through the night."
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