Research done: Wikipedia on Blindness; googled "white eyes blindness", "disease white eyes blindness", and variations thereof.
My main character (A) meets another character (B) in 1986. A then meets B again in 2008/9, by which time B has gone totally blind and has white, cloudy eyes. I need to figure out how B got blind. At this point, I'm open to any method -- injury, disease, exposure to something -- but the end-result has to be total or near-total blindness and white eyes. (The white eyes are a plot device further along in the storyline.)
From my research I've found that the white, cloudy eyes happens sometimes due to some sort of white coating over the eyes or really bad cateracts or something (all of which can be removed with surgery, but let's just assume that my character is too poor and doesn't really care to remove it).
Character B (who goes blind) is a female of indeterminate European origin (ex. if some ethnic group is more susceptible to some disease, she could suddenly become predominantly that). In 1986 she's 22 years old, so by 2008/9 she's 44/5. She's a bartender so a chemical spill at a lab would be a little far-fetched/take some work to make believable.
Is there a disease that would leave her with a white film over her eyes? I know that direct injury to the eye (ex. stabbing) could leave it cloudy, but I really need it white and cloudy. Or some sort of accident or injury that would have the same effect? It has to be permanent, so even if it's a white film of some sort that can be removed by surgery, that removal can't restore her sight.
If there really isn't anything that fits character B could always go with the "I don't want to talk about it" excuse, but I'd kind of like some sort of explanation that is reasonably believable.
Thanks in advance.