Double Vision

Frank’s challenge this week is fuzzy.

While I have recovered from the physical trauma of orbital decompression eye surgery, I have a new complication for my vision. I have strabismus (misaligned eyes).

At my post-surgery follow-up, the doctors performed some tests confirming my strabismus. The good news is that this is temporary. The bad news is that we need to know the meaning of "brief". Is it two months or six months? Will I do better with corrective lenses or require more surgery? We don't know. I have another follow-up with the ophthalmologists in Philadelphia in the last weeks of November. I'll know more then.

I would lie if I said I am not frustrated and feel dispirited by this news and the challenges before me.

I alternate between wearing an eye patch on each eye. Several years ago, I had cataract surgery in the left eye and laser surgery in the other eye. My left eye is used for distance vision, e.g., driving, and my right eye is used for reading and using the computer. Together, my eyes gave me a full range of view. With the misaligned eyes, this is broken.

Walking is challenging since I need both eyes to measure depth. I will not be driving. My spouse, although she has done much for me during this time, can only help so much, and I do not want to overwhelm her. She has health challenges. She will not be able to drive me to work each day or to the early morning photography workshops and photo walks I usually do at this time of year.

I am a freelance consultant. I have no vacation days and no paid time off. On Monday I will have a big request from my client. Will they allow me to work remotely until my eyesight improves? It's not a technical issue. Until my eye surgery, I worked remotely two days a week1. The client has systems and technology to support this. It's more of asking for a policy exception.

I know what I can't do. I can't drive or go on photo walks. I can work, but I need frequent breaks to rest my eyes. As I mentioned, I alternate between putting an eye patch over the left eye and then the right eye, but even with that, by the end of the day, my eyes hurt from trying to focus on the text on the screen. I have been using Siri dictation to send emails and text messages. It's not an ideal solution.

After work, I spend much time on the couch with my eyes closed. I registered for an online self-paced course but found watching the content exhausting, especially after a day of work. I cancelled all of my outdoor photography workshops.

To remain positive, I am focusing on what I can do. If/when she leaves the house to do errands, I go with my wife and photograph whatever I see. I have mainly used my iPhone 7 for this, as the Fujifilm X-T2 is too large to take on errands. If you see a man staring straight ahead while holding on tightly to his wife's arm, that is me. I'm paranoid that I'll bump into people and objects.

Frank's challenge this week is fuzzy. Frank's example image in his post is what my left eye sees now.

I have included a few photos captured using the double exposure feature of my Fujifilm X-T2. These images give some idea of what it feels like with my vision. The double exposure feature is easy to use. I select the double exposure feature on the command dial, shoot the first image, and accept the result on the LCD when the camera prompts. The camera then overlays the first image on the live viewfinder so that I can see how the double exposure will look. Pressing the shutter then captures the second image overlaid on the first.

The images are all straight-out-of-camera JPEGs.

22 September, 2019, Early autumn · FujiFilm X-T2 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

  1. Before my arrival, the department head allowed us to work remotely one day a week. However, employees in both the Manhattan and London offices began resigning, attributing their departure to the burdensome commute. In response, management made an exception to the remote work policy. We were granted the flexibility of working remotely for two days a week. 

Out of focus

I underwent orbital decompression surgery on Monday, and it's been quite a journey. My face resembled a rough night at a fight club, especially around my eyes. This past week has been all about rest, ice packs, and pain medications, but finally, I can see out of both eyes. Although I'm still on various medications, including in-eye and whole-body antibiotics, I'm hopeful about my recovery.

I developed strabismus, a post-surgery complication. Strabismus is a condition where the eyes do not properly align with each other when looking at an object. This misalignment can result in double vision.

The doctors say it might resolve on its own, or I might need further surgery. Surgery to correct strabismus involves adjusting the muscles around the eye to align the eyes properly. This may include strengthening or weakening specific eye muscles to achieve proper alignment. I'll better understand what I need at my post-surgery appointment on Monday.

Interestingly, amidst my recovery, I hadn't thought about participating in [Frank's Photo Challenge]. But today, with a patch over my left eye, I stumbled upon a response to the challenge while browsing the WordPress Reader. The theme was "Focus," which struck me as humorous given my current situation.

I've had cataract surgery on my left eye in the past, and I chose a lens for distance vision. Subsequent laser surgery on my right eye allowed me to focus on nearby objects. My brain cleverly combines both images to give me stereoscopic vision, enabling me to do various tasks easily.

Now, with post-surgery strabismus, I can't focus on objects ahead of me unless I cover one eye. It's not ideal, but Bhavna gave me an eye patch to alternate between eyes. However, this means I lose my stereoscopic vision and depth perception.

Nonetheless, I was determined to participate in the challenge. Covering one eye long enough to type took some energy, but I submitted two images. Both were taken with my Fujifilm X-T2 using manual focus 35mm film lenses, one with the help of the focus-peaking feature and the other by relying on my eyesight. I suspect one of the images is sharper than the other due to my vision limitations.

I used Luis Costa's monochrome film simulation recipe, discovered via Ritchie Roesch's post. It brought back memories of my college days when I used to shoot monochrome 35mm films. Though I can't recall if it's precisely like Tri-X, I genuinely like how it looks.

Here's one of the images I captured.

Chive Flower
14 September, 2019 · Chive Flower · FujiFilm X-T2 · Asahi Pentax SMC Takumar 55mm f/2

Participating in this challenge has been a bright spot during my recovery, reminding me of my passion for photography despite the obstacles.

Not Quite Fall

It's early fall here in New Jersey, perhaps too early to visit the Grandview section of the Rock Brook, but I hopped in the car and drove over to Hollow Road anyway Nope. Nothing. Not a single yellow leaf. Not on a tree. Not on the ground.

But some of the leaves have changed colour, not enough to be noticeable in the sea of green, but enough that some leaves have fallen off from the maple tree in the front yard. The heavy rainfall from the thunderstorm effects of Hurricane Dorian had drenched the tree knocking the yellow leaves onto the grass, the car and the driveway.