Are you living with the effects of Presumed Ocular Histoplasmosis (POHS)? Are you seeking information? Are you looking to connect with others who have POHS? You’ve come to the right place. I want to share information with others, who like me, has an eye disease called Presumed Ocular Histoplasmosis (POHS). I would especially like to help those who are newly diagnosed.
It is my wish that my website will benefit those living with POHS. I welcome your comments, suggestions and your stories, and if you would like me to add some links for Presumed Ocular Histoplasmosis, please let me know.
There are a number of links below that will take you to outside organizations for further information on Presumed Ocular Histoplasmosis.
Click here to go to links
Thank you for visiting my web site.
What is Histoplasmosis?
2 Photos above courtesy of ©Dr. Joshua Young
New York University, Department of Ophthalmology – Digital Journal of Ophthalmology
Photo above courtesy of ©Dr. Stanley Polack 2001
Presumed Ocular Histoplasmosis is a fungal infection caused by inhaled spores of Histoplasma capsulatum. It is most commonly found in mid-western parts of the United States, like the Ohio Valley, however, it is not limited to those parts. The Histoplasma spores are found in soils, especially those enriched with bird or bat droppings, but can be found any place that birds or bats live (barns, chicken coups, caves, etc.). The organism is inhaled in the lungs, travels in the blood, and then settles in a nutrient-rich area of the body – in our case the retina.
I was doing some further research and came upon a partial list of occupations that are at a higher risk for exposure to Histoplasma spores. Please note: this list is from the US but it will likely apply here in Canada as well.
The list can be found on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website and the following is quoted from page 4 in a .pdf document (this publication supersedes a full article on this page http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/97-146/default.html).
Appropriate exposure precautions should be taken
by these people and others whenever contaminated
soil, bat droppings, or bird manure is disturbed.
➧ Bridge inspector or painter(55,63,72,86)
➧ Chimney cleaner(66)
➧ Construction worker(12,57,58,67,85,90)
➧ Demolition worker(7,57,73)
➧ Heating and air-conditioning system installer or
➧ Microbiology laboratory worker(23,53,64,86)
➧ Pest control worker
➧ Restorer of historic or abandoned buildings(61,64)
➧ Spelunker (cave explorer)(56,59,60,68–71)
If someone who engages in these activities develops
flu-like symptoms days or even weeks after disturbing
material that might be contaminated with
H. capsulatum, and the illness worsens rather than
subsides after a few days, medical care should be
sought and the health care provider informed about
Help is available…
Education is key – gather all the information you can about POHS because it’s not going to go away. There are numerous institutes online that offer excellent articles explaining POHS. I have included some links below to get you started.
You are in control – knowing all you can about POHS will allow you to be in the driver’s seat. The condition is permanent so let’s do what we can to make the best of it. Don’t let it get the best of you!
Join a support group – find other people in your community or online to talk to. Most are more than happy to lend a helping hand. Search for a local group in your area, or get on the web and find a forum where you can share your feelings and ask questions. I’ve included a Facebook link below which offers excellent support to suffers.
Ask your ophthalmologist! They can’t give you names of people in your area who have POHS but they may know of someone you can connect with group-wise.
Good luck to you in your search for information and with the management of this disorder. Be positive, be strong. Reach out to others who can lend a hand, a voice, a shoulder. You are not alone.
Please feel free to write me. I have received many letters over the years from people all across North America and some from afar. From people like you and me who just wanted to talk to someone and share their stories, thoughts, concerns and hopes.
I am hoping that one day they will find a way to restore our vision; if not totally, then partially. I understand that much is being done in this area and some have already been fortunate enough to regain some of their vision. If you live in the United States then you are well ahead of us here in Canada when it comes to research but we are still hoping for par one day.
Good luck my friends and all the best coming your way…
Presumed Ocular Histoplasmosis Links
Removal of a Subretinal Neovascular Membrane in an eye with Ocular Histoplasmosis – Warning: not for the squeamish
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety – OSH Answers: Histoplasmosis – What is Histoplasmosis and what causes it?
Canadian Uveitis Society – Presumed Ocular Histoplasmosis Syndrome (POHS) – A brief description
Bennett & Bloom Eye Centers – The Specialists in Lasik and Laser Surgery – What You Should Know About Ocular Histoplasmosis
National Eye Institute: Patient Information – Facts about Histoplasmosis
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – General Information – Histoplasmosis
American Family Physician – Overview of Histoplasmosis
Presumed Ocular Histoplasmosis Syndrome – a little more medical terminology than you may be used to or understand – by eMedicine by WebMD.
Avastin Eye Injection is a Treatment for Macular Degeneration and Other Eye Diseases – Avastin side effects and complications
Amsler Grid Eye Test – This is a good one as it has the optic nerve area highlighted.
What is your story?
Please feel free to share your comments in the comment section below, and/or share your story of POHS on my “My Story of Presumed Ocular Histoplasmosis” page, via the link here or below, or under the Presumed Ocular Histoplasmosis POHS menu at the top of the page (drop down menu). I would love to hear from you.
Thank you for visiting!