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Optic Nerve Glioma with Karina Smith and Michelle Culbert

By Hidden Disabilities Sunflower The Sunflower Conversations Share

Our guests are Karina Smith and Michelle Culbert, from South Florida, who both have Optic Nerve Glioma, a rare eye condition affecting sight that typically affects young children. It is a slow-growing brain tumour in or around the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain. As the tumour progresses, it presses on the optic nerve.

Karina and Michelle believe they are the only two adults in Florida with this rare eye condition. Sadly, there is very little knowledge, advice, and guidance on how to treat optic nerve glioma in adults.

They both explain how what the sudden onset of sight loss was like for each of them, physically and emotionally and the steps that they had to take to weather the mental health impact it took. We also hear about the treatment they have both had, which includes proton beam radiation therapy.

Together, they are reaching out globally to other people with rare eye conditions to create a support community where people can share their experiences.

If you are experiencing any issues discussed in this podcast, please contact your healthcare practitioner.

For support

Download the full transcript here.


Hosted by Chantal Boyle and Lynn Smith, Hidden Disabilities Sunflower.


SUBSCRIBE, rate and share The Sunflower Conversations by clicking here.

The Sunflower Conversations is a podcast that delves into different non-visible health conditions to enable the listener to learn more about the causes and symptoms and the physical and social impacts that can occur. The conversations are with Sunflower wearers who share their lived experience of disability and who give a walkthrough of the ups and downs that are personal to them.

We also talk to healthcare professionals and charity experts who deliver an overview of specific disabilities and offer advice and signposting for support. If you are experiencing any issues discussed in this podcast, please contact your healthcare practitioner.

Want to share your story?

Email [email protected]

Music by "The Emerald Ruby" Emerald Ruby Bandcamp & Emerald Ruby website

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