photograph of a painting of an eye

Diseases of the eye are often hidden from the outside, macroscopic world. During a month of immersion in the world of ophthalmology, it wasn’t uncommon for me to see a patient with seemingly healthy, beautiful-looking eyes who actually had a chronic, vision-threatening diagnosis. Oftentimes, only special ophthalmologic equipment can unveil the microscopic diagnosis within the eye. Personally, this stark contrast between macroscopic and microscopic clinical observations, brought forth by the slit lamp microscope and various lenses, is what initially drew me to the field of ophthalmology. With vision arguably being the most precious of all of the human senses and critical for developing our beloved relationships, intimate hobbies, and professional careers, losing this gift is undoubtedly life-changing. Unfortunately, without an obvious blindfold wrapped around their head, a person’s loss of vision is often hidden to others around them. What we assume, what may seem, and what we have not experienced ourselves is the story behind this painting of a young girl with retinitis pigmentosa, a devastating degenerative disease that affects the retina’s ability to respond to light, causing a slow and permanent loss of vision.