A woman from Aylsham discovered she has a rare incurable brain disease after a routine eye test.

Janet Collingsworth was having her annual eye test at Vision Express in Dereham when the optician spotted some changes in her eyes.

After being referred to the neurology department at Cromer Hospital the 66-year-old was diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) - a rare neuro-degenerative disease that is life-limiting with no treatment and cure.

PSP is caused by the loss of neurons in certain parts of the brain.

Over time, this leads to difficulties with balance, mobility, speech, vision, swallowing and cognition.

The former primary school teacher had seemingly unconnected symptoms building up after she retired but had made no link to the relatively unknown disease.

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“After I took early retirement, I began volunteering and offering self-employed gardening services locally to keep busy," she said. 

"This is when I began experiencing worrying symptoms such as my mobility beginning to slow down, having poor balance, restless legs, memory problems and double vision.

“I thought these were all unconnected symptoms of several different conditions. Then during an annual eye examination, my optician spotted some changes in my eyes and referred me to the local neurology department.

“I’d never heard of PSP before. The diagnosis was a complete shock, so I went to my GP for clarification.

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"My GP talked me through the diagnosis and what it meant, but it was still a lot to take in.

“Of course, it has been tough for me, I’ve been diagnosed with an incurable condition.

"It has also impacted my family. It’s not how me and my husband thought we would be spending our retirements but he has been an absolute rock."

Since Ms Collingsworth is unsure how long her symptoms have been developing, she is now keen to raise awareness of PSP so more people will have heard of and understand the condition.