In June, I experienced my second detached retina. If left untreated, a detached retina can cause permanent blindness. I noticed some very odd things in my left eye and immediately suspected that my retina had detached. I knew it would happen at some point since I have extreme myopia, a prior detachment in the right eyes, and lattice degeneration in my left eye.

So I made an appointment with the retina surgeon and she confirmed my detachment and did a procedure the same day. Since then, I have made an almost complete recovery and my vision is almost what it was before. As detached retinas are rare, only 1 in 10,000 a year, I thought I would share my experience through art.

I was trying to relax and watch TV before I went in for my appointment

What you see here is the process of detachment. The black “fireworks” and gray splotches (floaters) are specks of blood seeping into my vitreous. The “lightning” is the tear in my retina and the dark area around it is the blind spot that resulted.

I had a pneumatic retinopexy with cryopexy to repair my retina

This involved a laser that froze my retina back in place (cryopexy) and a gas bubble (penumatic retinopexy) injected into my vitreous to help hold my retina in place as it healed. At first, I had a bunch of bubbles before they eventually coalesced together. This is what the bubbles looked like with my eye closed.

This is what I saw after my second procedure

Since I have a history of detachment, my surgeon wanted to do another laser retinopexy to reinforce my retina. This was done with a hot laser and afterward, I was temporarily unable to see properly. You can see the surgeon and the nurse who together performed my procedure standing in the corner and the opthalmological instruments in front of me.

After my bubbles coalesced, I had one giant bubble in my eye

It distorted my vision like a poorly focused magnifying glass. This is what I saw when looking down at my hands.