I think we all take a lot of things for granted, health-wise. I’ll be the first to say I’ve been lucky so far. And as a photographer, any eye problem I take seriously.

I have had small “floaters” in my eyes at times. Annoying, but they went away after a bit. So a couple of weekends ago, while driving, I saw some bright flashes in the outer corner of my left eye. Over the next half day my vision became cloudy with dark floaters and a smoky haze, I called my local eye doctor. He saw me on Monday and quickly set up an appointment with a specialist for Tuesday morning. Turns out that I had a detached and torn retina. The darkness I was seeing was from a blood vessel that had burst when the tear occurred. In photo terms, my CCD went bad.

Photo by Sue SchaeferThe Dr. gave me my options, one of them being laser surgery, which seemed the least invasive. He said “good choice” and I asked when it would take place. He said, “now.” So off we went to another room. There was a lot of whirring, clicking and extremely bright flashes as he worked with his hand-held laser. I joked to the Doc that I should take a photo of this. His reply surprised me, “fine with me.” So I handed my iPhone to the nurse and she stepped back and made a photo.

I am thankful to Dr. David G. Miller for the repair, and give credit to Sue Schaefer for taking the photo for me.

At the follow-up appointment a week later I was told everything looked good, but hard to tell since my eye was still so cloudy. It’s kind of like having a grey sunglass lens over my left eye with the wrong prescription, with some floating blobs. I’m told it may take up to two months to clear.

Focusing a camera is a challenge (thank you auto-focus), as is focusing in on detail on a computer screen, but I can still work. I’m told this is  a “getting older” thing. And that had I waited, it could have been a lot worse.

So if you have any sudden change in vision, don’t mess around, see a professional.

Seeing the elephant ('s foot)

So I was walking along and I saw an elephant's foot. It made me laugh.

It seems that being a photographer is both a curse and a blessing. Sometimes you see and think about things you don't want to see or think about.

Let's say you're at a party and your significant partner is really having a good time. They sidle up along side and say something like, "nice party, huh?" And you respond, "great, but the lighting in this corner really sucks. You'd think they could put in a little track lighting to accent this area."

You realize your error but it's too late, still thinking "nice low ceiling, a bounce flash would cover most of it and maybe just a little unit tucked low in the back for a little rim light."

So if you think photographers have shifty eyes, they do. They are watching the light, or for a composition to come together, or a visual pun (see Elliott Erwitt, one of my favorites).

We can't help ourselves, as lame as the puns may be.