Melbourne, September 30 : Doctors in Melbourne have been perplexed by an unusual condition of a woman whose eyes clamp shut for three days at a time, and then open up for the next three.
Natalie Adler, 21, has been experiencing such an extraordinary routine for the past four years.
Specialists think that Natalie might be the only person in the world with this kind of condition.
"My eyes are closed for three days and then open for three days," news.com.au quoted Natalie, of Caulfield South, as saying.
"Something happens overnight (on the third night). I go to bed and I can open my eyes, and then when I wake up the next day I can't. Nobody knows why," she added.
She even revealed that she had undergone hundreds of tests ever since she was a school kid in mid-year 11.
"I woke one Sunday and my eyes were swollen. It was the day before an English exam," she said.
She further said that after a sinus and staph infection, "I just never got better".
"My eyes started closing intermittently, really randomly, but within a few weeks they were closing for three days," she added.
Associate professor Justin O'Day, head of the neuro-ophthalmology unit at the Royal Eye and Ear Hospital, said: "Natalie's a mystery. She's a one-off and we don't have a diagnosis."
The doctor said that a condition called blepharospasm, random muscle spasms forcing the eyes closed, offered some point of reference, but there was no medical explanation for the strict consistency of Natalie's eye routine.
"It's unusual to see somebody with this degree of spasming and eyelid closure, especially at this age. There is no known cause," he said.
Botox injections around the eyes worked temporarily for Natalie, changing her six-day eye cycle to five-days open, one-day closed for almost two years.
The woman who suffers unexplained fatigue and nausea, however, now says that Botox no longer worked for her.
During "closed-eye days", Natalie's eyes are completely shut, except for a small slit in her left eye. On "open-eye days", they function normally, though the left eyelid can droop.
Her parents, Fred and Lillian, said that they were proud of the way their daughter had been enduring her problems.
"Natalie's always saying there are a lot of other people worse off than she is," Fred said.
Natalie, whose next treatment will include electrical stimulation of the eyes, has not given up hope of a cure.
"The tests give me a glimmer of hope," she said.