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Student Who Lost Sight During Exams In Kitgum Could Have Been Anxious-Medics

Atenyo after losing her sight/ Internet photo

The Senior Four student who reportedly went blind at the start of the Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) examinations on Monday could have been too anxious, medical doctors have said.

Mercy Atenyo, a student at Kitgum Comprehensive College made news yesterday when she suddenly lost her sight, one and a half hours after writing her Paper One Mathematics examinations. Pictures shared on social media showed Atenyo with her pupils stuck upward and many said she could have been bewitched.

Charles Canwat, the head teacher of the school said after the incident, the school held a two-hour prayer session for the student but nothing changed.

He added that Atenyo was then taken to Kitgum  Hospital, but doctors said that she could have been anxious or stressed because of the examinations.

He however said around 10 pm, Atenyo recovered her sight and resumed sitting for examinations this morning.

Dr Denis Kamara, an eye specialist at St. Joseph’s Hospital, told our reporter that there are many causes of sudden blindness, such as infection in the head, hunger, and lack of oxygen in the brain or a head injury.

Mercy Atenyo lost sight during exams

Dr Kamara added that sudden blindness could also be caused by a conversion disorder, a functional neurologic disorder, which comes as a physical response to a stressful or psychological trauma, which makes one experience temporary physical signs such as blindness or paralysis.

Dr Kamara said sudden blindness could also be hysterical blindness, where one suffers sudden or gradual blindness in one or both eyes. Hysterical blindness is said to last between a few hours to several years and may be irregular.

Canwat, the head teacher of the school, described Atenyo as a bright student, who scored an aggregate 20 in her mock examinations and was definitely going to get the first grade in the final examinations.

He said they made the student write her name only on the second paper, so that she gets a complete result, even with an F9 on the second mathematics paper.

Canwat said although there is no way UNEB can give the student a special examination she missed, they have reported the incident to them and hope they made a review of the report and make a fair decision on her.


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