March 19, 2015

No Yellow in the Left Eye, My oh My

"Be prepared not to be believed," a friend of mine said when I told her that I no longer see the color yellow out of my left eye. She was right. Thus far, I haven’t found a doctor in South Carolina who believes it. I’m just repeatedly told that this is a benign color shift due to my having had a cataract removed from that eye.

Today I told the latest eye doctor about my little experiment sending a picture of a green and yellow vase to others who had had cataract surgery and that none of them saw a vase that was light blue and light pink instead like I do. The doctor just told me that this was all a matter of perception. I should have known better than to try to persuade him but persisted. I showed him a magazine photo of a light yellow machine. I told him that out of my left eye it is just off white. "Only a matter of perception," he intoned then played a little mind game with me. "I see it as green." he said. I still didn’t know when to quit and said that I just didn’t think that it was normal to not see yellow at all. He replied that I was a "sensitive" artist and should not be so overly dramatic.

I should have stopped at "I can’t see yellow."

The trouble is, since losing the color yellow in one’s vision is rare there aren’t standard tests for it. There is one that a friend in the medical field recommended but I found today that it is only used for research purposes. So until I find an institute where I could possibly get such a test it is only a matter of my word, which I find that the medical community seems to consider quite dubious - melodramatic, sensitive artist that I am.

In the mean time, painting is a challenge. Earlier, I would see a split color field looking at an object: yellow on the right half and pink on the left. Now I see the wrong color on the left, the right color on the right and a mixture looking with both eyes. Neither left nor with both eyes is really correct.

Missing yellow changes many things. It turns green into blue. It turns people’s skin tones into a pinkish purple. A brown person looks purple. To illustrate, using a patch over my left eye, I made a painting of a golden brown leaf on a patch of emerald green fabric. To the left of that I painted the leaf again, this time using only my left eye with the patch over my right. The results are above. Out of my right eye I see that they are different. Out of my left eye they are about the same - but that is all just a matter of perception I suppose.

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