More than 30 years ago, I was diagnosed with having scars close to the macular on my retinas, but the cause of them was never discovered. This resulted in my vision being slightly blurred, which had a limited impact on my life. It was not until 8 years ago that I had the next major problem with my vision. A large black spot appeared, which was caused by a CNV (an abnormal blood vessel) forming on the retina of my left eye. The doctors then diagnosed Presumed Ocular Histoplasmosis Syndrome (a rare disease of the retina), my retinas were found to have white histo spots, from which CNVs can form. This blood vessel caused more damage to my left eye’s retina and its macular resulting in a degeneration in my vision, more blurriness, a large blind spot as well as the loss of some my peripheral vision. The damaged retina resulted in the early onset of cataracts two years later and after cataract surgery at age 51, the loss of my reading vision. My blurred vision (which should not be confused with myopia) cannot be corrected by glasses. I need to regularly test my vision as there is a small risk that new CNVs will form again resulting in more vision loss. 

Now due this blurred vision, I am no longer able to drive a car. Whilst I can still read the road signs, it takes me longer to do so and thus my reaction time is reduced and makes driving dangerous. I can use public transport, but I need to be close to signs to read them in order to take the correct bus/tram/train. Due to having some of my peripheral vision missing, it makes riding a bike difficult as I can miss other bikes/ people approaching from my left-hand side until it is too late and is an accident waiting to happen. I have lost count of number of near misses I have had just by walking around Amsterdam. So, I have not used my bike since I got my diagnosis in 2013. My large blind spot means that I sometimes have problems determining depth, some 3D objects merge with their backgrounds and appear 2D from a distance, especially if the object is on my left- hand side. It is no longer possible for me to use manual focus on the camera so, in order to get sharp images, I need to use lenses that have an auto focus option. I have never really thought of myself having a disability, this is just how I see the world and have learnt to live with it. 

This photo project was created to allow the user to experience how I view the world with damaged retinas. By combining two images into one, one half being how I see the world and other how everyone sees the world.   

 All images were taken using a lens with fixed focal length of 50 mm. Each image is created from two images taken between 30 second to 2 minutes apart, the first at f/2.2 with a focal distance of 5m and the second at f/10 with the lens focused via autofocus, selecting via the viewfinder where the camera should focus. Each image is then halved and left half of the first image is combined with the right half of the second to create a new image. One half is then moved slightly to ensure that there is a misalignment between the two. The image is then cropped to remove any dead space. The divider is added as an extra layer and placed on top of the joint, the width is calculated to be 1cm when printed on a A4 print.

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