BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Vivian Luo's ski goggles seem a bit out of place in the middle of June as she plays the violin at Faneuil Hall.
"They think the goggles are part of my outfit...people think it's a fashion statement or a religious thing, " she said. But for "Violin Viiv," as her stage name goes, the polarized goggles are constant protection from the outside world.
Earlier this year, the musician found out she had Acanthamoeba Keratitis, a very rare but serious cornea infection. The infection can cause permanent blindness.
"Right now I'm pretty much blind, besides sensing light and dark in my right eye," Luo said. Doctors at Mass. Eye and Ear have managed to improve her condition a bit with medicated eye drops, which have lessened the pain.
"Literally a month ago I was hiding under my bed sheets all day," she said. The goggles protect her eyes from foreign particles and too much light.
She said it could take up to a year for the infection to clear, and even then, she may not regain her vision.
But Viiv said the rare condition comes with a silver lining. "I think I play better when my eyes are closed...I think I'm actually getting better. I can't imagine going through this without music right now...I'd say I'm very blessed," said Viiv.
"When stuff happens you don't say 'why me,' you fight it, and you say, 'come at me,'" she said.
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Written by Chaiel Schaffel