WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Jo Daniels of Bristol, England suffers from Sjögren’s syndrome which causes ulcers on her eyes damaging her corneas.
- She totally depends on eye serum made of donated male blood to keep her blindness at bay.
- Male blood is more suitable for the serum because it has lesser antibodies and contains more plasma and platelets.
A woman from Bristol is hoping that more men will donate blood otherwise she will lose her vision.
Jo Daniels, a 39-year-old psychologist, has Sjögren’s syndrome — an auto-immune condition that attacks the glands that produce fluids like tears and saliva causing symptoms such as dry mouth, dry eyes and teeth cavities. A rare complication of the syndrome is vision loss.
While medications such as eye drops can treat the condition by keeping the eyes lubricated, standard treatments failed to help Mrs. Daniels. Over a period of four weeks, her vision went from normal to ‘completely being in the dark’. Due to the dryness, her eyes developed painful ulcers damaging her corneas.
Ms. Daniels said she thought she may never be able to see again.
“I was worried I would lose my career and not be able to see my young daughter grow up.”
But a last resort, using a special eye serum made from the plasma of male blood, somehow helped bring back Ms. Daniels’ vision.
“I can only see now because men donate blood that is used to extract serum that people like me put in their eyes hourly,” she said. She added saying that if only more men will donate, then the vital medication will always be available so she doesn’t lose her sight again.
Sadly, the NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) have reported that the number of English male donors has declined by 24.8 percent over the past 5 years, compared to a 6 percent drop in female donors. Figures also show that generally, men belonging to the age group of 17-34 are less likely to give blood.
Men are better blood donors than women because they have higher iron levels due to their additional bodyweight. They can donate blood every 12 weeks while women can give blood every 16 weeks to protect their iron levels.
Further, male blood has lesser immune cells than women making it easier for them to match with recipients. They also have a higher platelet count meaning their blood can be used in life-saving ways like treating people with burns, cancer or those with dry eye conditions.
NHSBT head of donor recruitment Mike Stredder said that though they need 68,000 extra men to donate this year, there are not enough new male donors coming.
“This is not about recruiting as many donors as possible – it is about getting the right gender mix,” he added.
Sjögren’s is one of the most prevalent autoimmune disorders affecting an estimated 0.6 percent of adults in the UK where nine out of ten patients are women with an average age of 50 years.
Source: Daily Mail Online