Your EyesThis writing pertains to your eyes and how in a moment you can loose your vision that relates so importantly to your art. We take our eyes foregranted. How many years have gone by since you went to an Optometrist or Ophamologist?? Dont hesitate. Retinal tears happen and you might not know about it till its too late for a simple laser repair. other growths can happen also without you knowing. Please read my story below and see what Im now going thru.
About two months ago I began seeing a subtle fan like movement in the left lower corner of my left eye.I thought that was odd and knew it wasnt normal. It looked kinda like a wavey mirage. I kept an eye on it (no pun intended) for a few more days and it didnt go away. I knew something was majorly wrong and made an appt with the local Optometrist. She did the examination and told me I had no visible problems and that my eyes were 20/20. She saw nothing in my retina or anywhere else abnormal. I then told her "There IS something there either in my eye or coming from my brain." I then made an appt with a Retinal specialist in Atlanta who I had visited before after cataract surgery. A week later I got in to see him. By now, three weeks had passed and I could tell it was getting a little larger. I told him the symptoms I was seeing. He turned on the big brite light and immediately saw it. He said I had a freckle on my retina and it could possibly be a melanoma but I'd have to go to Emory Hospital in Atlanta for an ultrasound to confirm that. So another 10 days went by to get there for the ultrasound and melanoma was confirmed. 1 out of 10,000 people get this. What luck!!! But thank God for that 2nd opinion. So to make a long story short, Im writing this from my hotel recovery room in Philadelphia where surgery was performed on that melanoma 4 days ago.. They sewed a dime sized disk with 5 or 6 radioactive bars on it to my eyeball over the melanoma under the eyelid. Sounds like should be a lot of pain but no pain at all. Just a little discomfort. It should neutralize it. There's no precise knowing what my vision will be like in the left eye. Ive been told there may be double vision and or blurred vision for a month or more before the eye muscles recover. I'll probably have some degree of damage to the optic nerve because of the radiation. Perception may be somewhat of an issue but I experimented prior to the surgery. If I close my left eye and squint thru it where my vision is definitely blurred, my perception is pretty good. So having very blurred sight thru one eye and sharpness in the other still allows decent perception. Hopefully my eye wont be quite that blurred. The radioactive disk comes off tomorrow (Monday April 2nd). I have to wear a pirate patch over the eye for two days and then can remove it. It'll be a day to day observation as to the progress of the eye. The good thing is that Im being treated by the best retina eye melanoma doctor in the U.S. Maybe even the world. Dr. Carol Shields. I feel so lucky and blessed to have gotten in so quickly to be treated before this thing got bigger.
While in the hotel room with only one eye available because of a patch over the treated one, I attempted a few pencil sketches just to see how bad my drawing would be without two good eyes. Surprisingly they turned out pretty decent for doing them so quickly. They're posted on this blog. The main problem was keeping things scaled in relation to one another. But then thats an on going issue I have to watch even using two good eyes. So squinting is something we do anyhow when painting to help check dark/light values, and eliminate unimportant objects in a scene. So who knows, maybe my eyes will help me move into a different style of painting. Maybe looser. I've been praying for years that I might catch a better vision of painting much much looser. Maybe this is an answer to that prayer???? God works in mysterious ways right?
So I say to any of you fellow artists and friends who read this, I can't say enuff about about 2nd opinions. If I had left it alone based on the the first Optometrists evaluation(which was wrong), who knows how big this melanoma couldve grown to which wouldve made it harder to treat. Forget your local Optometrist for general yearly check up. Go to an Opthamologist (Retinal Specialist) instead. They have the more advanced tools and know what to look for beyond what the regular eye doctor can see and has more knowledge of and has dealt with more serious issues over time.
Happy painting forever !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!