Hope for boy with rare illness to see again
DOMINIC Boag was a normal teenager who enjoyed talking to his friends over the internet and dreamed of joining the police.
But now, after being struck by a rare illness which has robbed him of his sight, his hopes are focused on a miracle cure to help switch his eyes back on.
In the meantime, he is learning to live with the severe lack of vision which has left him dependent on others just to get out of the house.
The 19-year-old has Leber's disease - a rare genetic condition which has effectively "turned off" his eyes - causing him to go from being fully-sighted to almost completely blind in just a few weeks.
Doctors have told him that if his optic nerves are not "woken up" they will die and he will be blind for life.
But his condition is so rare that no doctor he has seen knows how to get his eyes working again. He is now in a fight against the clock to get help.
"The threat of blindness is a constant countdown, like a ticking time bomb, and I just want someone to please help," the teenager said.
"The doctors say something happened in my body and my optic nerves thought they were no longer wanted, so they sort of fell asleep.
"All they have to do is wake those wires up again but how they wake them up, they just don't know.
"There must be some treatment, here or abroad, there must be someone who knows how to help me, all I want to do is to find them.
"I'm desperate for some kind of answer before it's too late."
Mr Boag, from Port Glasgow, Inverclyde, said that his vision suddenly became blurred last February.
The teenager, whose father was the late ex-Morton Football Club captain John Boag, spent an hour-and-a-half at the optician before being sent to hospital.
A month later, after a series of tests including an MRI scan, he was diagnosed with Leber's disease. It means the optic nerves which send what he sees from his eyes to his brain are lying dormant.
In just another month, his vision was already half gone.
Mr Boag was shattered when his deteriorating eyesight meant not just that he needed glasses but that his dreams of being a policeman were over.
Now he has lost 92 per cent of his sight and can only make out blurred black and white shapes from a few inches away.
Luckily he can continue working as a customer service adviser at Greenock call centre HEROtsc, as bosses fitted his computer with software to magnify the screen for him.
But he would love to have similar software in the home he shares with mother Rita, 43, and ten-year-old brother Stuart, as he can no longer use the computer or watch television unless he is right up against the screen.
Mr Boag does not know how long he has before his sight could be lost forever.But equally doctors say his condition could be cured overnight.
He added: "I just hope that I'll wake up tomorrow and be able to see again, that's what keeps me going. But I don't know if that will happen."
A spokesman for the Royal National Institute of Blind People Scotland said some treatments for Leber's disease were being tested but there was currently no cure.
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