Chemical Eric Can't See
Department of Biological Sciences
Western Illinois University
This autobiographical case study presents the story of Eric as he learns that he has a genetic eye disease, which progresses to the point that he becomes legally blind. The story is true and, in this respect, similar to another case by the same author in our collection, namely "Chemical Eric: Dealing with the Disintegration of Central Control." However a major difference is that the present case is written in a modular fashion so that teachers can "pick and choose" which sections of the case they would like to teach based on what they want to emphasize. One part of the case presents the results of Eric's visual fields test and asks students to interpret them. Another part of the case explores the genetics underlying the condition Eric has. Other parts of the case explore issues related to persons with disabilities, including physical, emotional, and social aspects of living with a disability. The case is suitable for an introductory majors or non-majors biology course, an introductory psychology course, or a human biology course. It could be modified for use in more advanced courses, such as neurobiology, and should also be suitable for a high school biology class. In addition, it could be used in a professional or clinical setting for training professionals to think about their patients. The case has two versions: a PDF version and a PowerPoint (PPT) version. They are the same except for the format. To access the print version, click on the “DOWNLOAD CASE” button located above to the right of the tabs. To access the PowerPoint version, click on the Supplemental Materials tab above.
- Challenge students to think about a specific vision problem and the effects of a genetic disease.
- Introduce students to the calculation of the implications of genetic diseases for family members.
- Connect the optical nervous system to the resulting vision.
- Encourage students to humanize patients.
KeywordsRetinitis pigmentosa; genetic disease; genetic inheritance pattern; genetic counseling, eye; eyes; vision; vision impairment; vision loss; blindness; vitamin A; disability; disabilities
Topical AreasEthics, Social issues, Social justice issues
Educational LevelUndergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division, Graduate, Professional (degree program), Clinical education, Continuing education
Type / MethodsInterrupted
Subject HeadingsBiology (General) | Anatomy | Genetics / Heredity | Nursing | Medicine (General) | Psychology | Sociology | Interdisciplinary Sciences |
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This case has two versions: a PDF version and a PowerPoint (PPT) version. They are the same except for the format. To access the PowerPoint version, click on the link below. (To access the print version, click on the “DOWNLOAD CASE” button located above to the right of the tabs.)
PowerPoint Version of the Case