In June 2018, I had an emergency eye operation for a detached retina and damaged macula.
Following a second operation three and a half months later, I decided to document what I could actually see.
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 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 down river to the sea. I have had to take a break from this project due to problems caused by my detached retina.
So I am using the River Thames as the subject for these images 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.
What these pictures illustrate:
In these pictures I have tried to show exactly what I could see through my damaged 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…..