Following a second operation three weeks ago, I decided to document what I could actually see.
Above - This is what I could see with my right eye the morning after the second operation. The "Spirit Level" was very reactive and bounced up and down as I walked - like jelly on a trampoline.
I am making these images to raise awareness of how our eyes can be suffering very severe damage without us noticing and how very subtle symptoms, that may seem of no significance at all, may be caused by damage to the retina or other areas of the eye that could lead to permanently damaged vision or loss of sight, if not corrected very early. I want to prevent others from losing their sight or from experiencing permanently damaged vision. Symptoms can include blurred vision, flashing lights (often noticed in bed) shapes occasionally drifting across your vision - but there are others.
With my own eye, I had no symptoms at all (that I was aware of) and one day found that my right eye could see nothing in the top half and a small twisted, low contrast image in the bottom half. With both eyes open I couldn't see any problem at all, my brain totally ignored the damaged eye. A few days later I had an emergency operation. Four months and one more operation later and my vision is, well, shall we say, changed, well ok, damaged. Moorefield's Eye Hospital haven't finished with me yet though.
The River Within - why am I using photographs of the River Thames to illustrate my detached retina vision?
In January 2017 I began a photographic exploration of the Thames from a kayak, beginning at the source in the Cotswolds, I took a small section of river paddling and photographing it a number of times at different times of day, until I felt I had 'finished it' then moved down to the next section. I had reached London and was planning to continue downriver to the sea. I have had to take a break from this project since June as doctors have told me not to risk getting my eye contaminated with river water.
So I am using the River Thames as the subject for my detached retina photographs because what is happening to my eye has had a significant impact on this project. When I'm in my kayak, I have a very unique view of the river, looking out from the River Within. But now I can only see the Thames from the outside, from the same perspective that most other people see it - looking down on it from the banks as a spectator rather than being a part of it and within it. But I still have a very unique view.
What these pictures illustrate:
In these pictures, I have tried to show exactly what I could see through my right eye at the time of making the picture. I then made a second picture to show what I could see with both eyes open. I will continue to make these images as my vision changes - and hopefully improves. You can see both sets of pictures, side by side here https://www.h2ophotography.com/eye
Above - This is what I could see with my right eye four days after the second operation. The "spirit level" seen in the top picture, was actually a very large bubble, which was now shrinking and becoming more transparent. Battersea Power Station, London.
Above - Seven days after the second operation and large bubble that formed the "spirit level" was continuing to shrink quickly. The World's End Estate, Chelsea, London.
Above - eight days after the second operation and the large spirit level bubble has almost gone. The warping of the London Eye and surrounding buildings is caused by the macula, which is the central bit of the retina, being crinkled instead of flat. The macula was damaged when it originally detached. This is probably permanent. The blurriness should reduce or even go when I get glasses. The London Eye.
Above and below. These two pictures show you what I can see through my right eye at the moment. In the first operation, back in June, my eye was filled with silicon oil, which was used as a 'splint' to hold my retina in place following surgery to reattach it. Unfortunately, during the second operation, it was not all removed and the bubbles that I am seeing here are permanent unless I have another operation to remove them. In daylight, the little ones catch the light and sparkle light diamonds, if I keep still they gradually sink and re-join the large bubble. Working on a computer is difficult as they turn black when I look at a screen and jump around then drift across my vision. Above is Tower Bridge. Below is the Lots Road Power Station in Chelsea.
The River Within - Thames source to sea
Follow my photographic exploration of the Thames from source to sea from a kayak