Ocular Topology

Note: This is one of an occasional series of reports on my newly-developed eye problem. Readers who are not interested in discussions about medical ailments may scroll past it.

Since the condition (choroidal neovascularization, or wet macular degeneration) developed in my left eye, I’ve been wanting to create a diagram representing the symptoms. However, until the maddening disjunction in my eyesight eased up a bit, I was unable to sit down with a pencil and paper to do the math, nor could I stare at the screen while I did the programming to create the image.

It’s been ten days now since my first treatment (an injection into the vitreous humor), and the symptoms have receded somewhat, allowing me to do more intensive visual work. Below is a schematic diagram of the central area of the visual field of my left eye, as it presented itself when the symptoms were at their worst, say about April 1:

The conceit is that I am looking straight ahead at a white tiled wall. The blue circle represents the fovea, the point of focus for the eye. The magenta areas represent the discoloration of the visual field brought on by the leakage of pigment from the choroid.

As you can see, there is a sort of “bump” in the texture of any surface I look at. When the condition first developed back in late February, I intuited that there must be a swelling in that part of the retina. This was in fact the case, as borne out by the high-resolution retinal scans done at the specialist’s office.

(By the way — the diagnostic equipment now available to ophthalmologists and retinal specialists is truly astonishing in its capabilities. By various techniques, the doctor is able to obtain precise detailed maps of the surface of the retina that include the topology of the affected area with color-coded regions of fluid seepage.)

That bump is why my two eyes won’t work together any longer, at least for close-up activity. My brain can’t make the two images gibe with each other — it can’t find an acceptable overlap. The muscles keep pulling and tugging trying to align the eyes and adjust the lenses to make a fit, which causes muscle exhaustion, eyestrain, and headaches.

Hence the patch on the left eye when I do detail work. Other activities using both eyes that don’t include the necessity for a close focus, such as driving, are not so bad. And now that the worst symptoms have eased off — the bump is much less noticeable — I can enjoy everyday chores once again.

The effectiveness of the first treatment has made me optimistic, and I expect an eventual return to something approaching visual normalcy (normal for a person with hyperopia, anyway), albeit with reduced acuity in a portion of the retina of my left eye. The treatment is agonizing and expensive, but well worth it — a needle in the eye seems a small price to pay to remove that fundamental discord of perception, as if the brain itself were split into two disjointed parts at war with each other.

If you ever develop symptoms like those in the diagram, you can tell the doctor that you have either central serous choroidopathy or choroidal neovascularization — chances are you’ll be right.

3 thoughts on “Ocular Topology

  1. These explanations the Baron has given me in the last few weeks have been most helpful in trying to understand what he’s experiencing. Knowing him as I do, this new heart of darkness is a fundamental discord of perception, one that wakes him up at night. He is living the primal fear of not being able to see correctly, the very fear lying in wait in the heart of every visual artist.

    I’ve had some email discussions with Oleg, proprietor of The People’s Cube, about what it was like for him in the USSR as an artist. When he finally arrived in this country he did not (as his fellow-immigrants did) go into the grocery stores to ooh&aah at the incredible varieties of food. Instead, he was drawn to the art supplies stores to gaze in wonder at the vast arrays of paints, brushes, etc – true nourishment for any painter. For Oleg, the pain was in realizing how deliberately deprived he’d been of good materials as punishment for failing to be an obedient little Communist. As you can see from his website, he definitely wasn’t that:

    The Baron’s painting days are over; his eyes can no longer follow where his heart would have him go. BUT – and it’s a big ‘but’ – he can now use the computer to create programs that in turn can be used to make images, the images of propaganda to be taken up and dispersed by others in the battle against those who would destroy us. As he often says (I’m paraphrasing), words are important but pictures capture the heart…

    Which brings to mind the monstrously untrue but most effectively dispersed hopey-changey ikon of our current president. Don’t you wonder how many voters succumbed to a mere picture??

  2. Well now Dymphna you perhaps dislike me over my stance on a particular matter. I stilI stand by my view even though it incurs your wrath. (only just read your verbal assault on me on a particular email address because I rarely check that address) .

    I don’t dislike either you or the Baron whatever. I find your sometimes eccentric views ( to me) captivating. I am sometimes amazed at the privations (lost water, electric whatever) imposed on you. In my little country such rarely happens.
    Being very concerned about eyes (my own are not the best) I was very sorry to hear of the Baron’s problem. His description is a little frightening. Then again I know from experience that “eye assault” takes just 2 days to clear. The eye is perhaps the most efficient organ in recovery. I have suffered embedded metal (silly failure to take precautions) which cleared up in the expected “two days”. Two days of serious discomfort is though still hard to take. And it IS serious discomfort which is more than serious toothache or broken bones. (women may say that birth is worse but I have no means of comparison)

    I well remember, having seen some of the Baron’s paintings, naively asking why he didn’t make that his source of income. He told me that his eyesight was the problem. That was seriously sad to me because I never had the Baron’s artistic ability but could totally understand his loss. His current problems seem to very much trump my lack of artistic ability. I never had it so cannot miss it but I DO undertand.

    Keep well

  3. Baron: There is spirit which heals the best way …. this is`nt the doctors underlying ghost which resist to heal you complete – because “he” looses business, when you would be healed complet.

    Now some nourishment for true “”res”-publica”. I did write “res” unter the signs because in real its not a thing, which is the meaning of the word “res”, its more an emotion …..

    Point 2 of bringing democcratic values back makes necessary to check which is the very theme of democratic values: Its brotherhood …… its not the Master and the Slave, where “control and comand” are the lusts of the Masters hearts, its not the Capitalists whose nose is out for the smell of money and souls are seen as robots, its not the “heroes” of work against the Feudalists and Aristocrates and for sure its not that sort of brotherhood under a bloodthirsty “We-are-at-war-against-anyone-who-is-not-with-us” (so similar to the Socialist dark minds), whose business is done as Mursi does…..

    True brotherhood brings true democratic sights ……. which is: Not the hierarchy of the rank BUT the hierarchy of the best wishes and ideas !

    This is what makes buildings flat in true mens democracies …. not even a first floor for any gov or other public buildings ….

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