So You Think You Can Dance comes to the Saenger Theatre Tuesday night, and a Picayune teenager will go backstage to meet the stars. Abby Montgomery dreamed of being a professional dancer since she was a little girl, but there's a chance here world could go dark before her dreams come true.
She knows the routines on the Picayune High School Dance Team, but actually doing them is tricky. Abby can't see any of the girls dancing beside her.
"When I'm in a group, if I'm trying to see where I'm going it causes problems because I bump into people quite a lot," she said.
Her coach Jessica Spiers says Abby has to look from side to side from time to time but she never uses her eye disease as a crutch. Abby has Retintis Pigmentosa. The hereditary disorder affects the back inside wall of the eye responsible for capturing images from the visual field.
"It starts off you lose your peripheral vision," Abby said. She put her hands up to the sides of her face to demonstrate.
"It slowly comes in and you get to where you see like a tunnel and it progressively comes in."
LSU Ophthalmologist Dr. Maria Reinoso says it's not very common and usually runs in families. Doctors diagnosed Abby around the age of 12. Her father Mike Montgomery is now legally blind.
"In 1990 he was 29 years old and found out he had Retinitis Pigmentosa," said Abby's Mom Robyn.
Abby had already fallen in love with dance as her father's tunnel vision grew progressively worse over the years.