The Shared Visions Art Exhibit: Spotlight on the Art and Artist
Kathy Austin (Congenital Cataracts, Nystagmus) has been seeing the world with limited details since birth due to her congenital cataracts. Taking photographs allows her to perceive the world more clearly than her eyes will allow. Among her favorite things to photograph are natural environments and animals.
“Sunset at the Harbor”
Susan Joy Gustafson, who resides in Vancouver, WA, was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa at age 35 and considers painting a “joyful pastime.” Her whimsical interpretations, many of which are floral and tropical subjects, enhance and bring scenes she paints to life. Ms Gustafson says that she “creates watercolor art for the intimate spaces in your home and heart.” When asked who inspires her to do such work, her simple response is “my guide dog is my muse.”
“Tulip Time” has been selected as the 2012-2013 Shared Visions Art Exhibit Signature Artwork.
GLOSSARY OF MEDICAL TERMS
Amblyopia: Amblyopia, also known as "lazy eye," has many causes. Most often it results from either a misalignment of a child's eyes, such as crossed eyes, or a difference in image quality between the two eyes (one eye focusing better than the other).
Aniridia (Micro-Opthalmus, Bilateral Anophthalmus): This is a rare congenital condition that results in the underdevelopment of the eye’s iris. It will usually be present in both eyes. It is also associated with vision loss due to poor development of the retina.
Cararacts: A cataract is a clouding or yellowing of the lens in the eye. This lens is usually clear and able to change shape thus allowing a person to focus from near to far and vise versa. Cataracts have a variety of causes and the most common treatment is surgical removal.
Choroid Dystrophies (PIC, Choroideremia): This disease, occurring almost exclusively in males, is a rare, genetically-induced eye disease that causes degeneration of the pigment in the back of the eye. In childhood, night blindness is the most common first symptom. As the disease progresses, there is loss of peripheral vision or “tunnel vision”, and later a loss of central vision.
Cystoid Macular Edema: Cystoid macular edema is a painless disorder which affects the central retina or macula. When this condition is present, multiple cyst-like (cystoid) areas of fluid appear in the macula and cause retinal selling of the edema. The main symptom is blurred or decreased central vision. <
Cytomegalovirus Retinitis (a.k.a. CMV): Cytomegalovirus is found in almost everyone, however, those individuals who have a suppressed immune system by diseases, transplants, or chemotherapy are unable to destroy this virus. It is then able to do damage to the body and eyes and may lead to blindness.
Diabetic Retinopathy (Diabetic Macular Edema): Diabetes can lead to an ocular condition known as diabetic retinopathy. This is the growth of new weak blood vessels in the retina. Since these vessels are weak, they can tear and cause bleeding and permanent vision loss. Diabetes can also cause macular edema (swelling of the macula). These conditions can lead to vision loss, retinal detachment and even blindness.
Glaucoma: This is a disease of the optic nerve. If glaucoma goes untreated, there will be permanent optic nerve damage resulting in visual field loss, and eventually even blindness.
Graves’ Disease: An autoimmune disease where the thyroid is overactive. One sign of Graves’ disease is exophthalmos or a protuberance of one or both eyes which can result in a scar tissue that restricts eye movements and damage to the optic nerve. <
Legal Blindness: The term “legal blindness includes vision that is 20/200 (the big “E” on the eye chart) or worse. Unless someone is totally blind, he/she may have some useable vision (low vision) that may be maximized with low vision devices.
Macular Degeneration (ARMD, Stargardt’s Disease): This is a condition typically found, but not limited to the elderly. The macula which is located on the retina, is responsible for central vision. In this condition, the macula, can thin, deteriorate, and in some cases, bleed. Because it is located in relation to central vision; reading, seeing fine details, and even making out faces, are all tasks that are effected. It can be genetic and cause severe vision loss in young and middle-aged adults. The most common form is in the elderly as age-related macular degeneration.
Microphthalmia: A developmental disorder of the eye that literally means small eye. The presence of a small eye within the orbit can be abnormal and result in blindness.
Ocular Histoplasmosis Syndrome (OHS): Histoplasmosis is a disease caused when airborne spores of the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum are inhaled into the lungs. The spores spread from the lungs to the eye, lodging in the choroid, a layer of blood vessels that provides blood and nutrients to the retina. OHS develops when fragile, abnormal blood vessels grow underneath the retina. These abnormal blood vessels form a lesion known as choroidal neovascularization (CNV). If left untreated, the CNV lesion can turn into scar tissue and replace the normal retinal tissue in the macula.
Optic Nerve Atrophy: This nerve is part of the brain and has no ability to regenerate. That means that vision loss will be permanent. This condition can be hereditary and usually appears around 20-30 years of age.
Optic Nerve Hypoplasia: An under development of the optic nerve head causing a variety of vision problems and ultimately low vision.
Optic Neuritis (Multiple Sclerosis): Optic Neuritis occurs when there is inflammation of the optic nerve, usually caused by swelling. This swelling can damage the myelin sheath surrounding the bundle of axons. This swelling and damage can affect color vision and lead to vision loss.
Optic Neuropathy: Optic Neuropathy is a disease caused by methyl alcohol consumption leading to a toxic optic neuropathy, with rapid deterioration in vision and irreversible blindness, if not treated within 24-28 hours. Major symptoms are sudden or gradual loss of vision (partial or complete). There may be pain on movement of the affected eye as well as color loss.
Retinal Detachment: This is a condition in which the retina peels away from the supportive tissue underneath. It may be localized, or start as a small tear, but without very quick treatment, it can lead to the entire retina detaching. Retinal detachments can lead to vision loss, and even blindness.
Retinitis Pigmentosa (Usher syndrome): This is a genetic disease that presents itself with abnormalities in the retina. This condition typically starts with night blindness and then gradually the peripheral visual field closes in and creates a tunnel vision effect. Late in the course of the disease, the central vision will also diminish and may lead to total blindness.
Retinopathy of Prematurity: (previously called retrolental fibrosia – RLF) This is a condition in premature babies. In premature babies, the retina is not fully developed. Since these infants are born early, some of the vascularization of the retina which normally takes place in-utero, actually occurs after birth. This appears to cause a problem as the vessels grow in an unorganized manner. This can result in scarring and retinal detachment; which can lead to vision loss and blindness.