The Eye and The Artist

Nothing is more crucial to the enterprise of an artist than sight.

Cataracts, retinal degenerations and other eye problems have been associated with, and thought
to have affected, great artists as Monet, Degas and Van Gogh to name a few.

In modern society, cataracts are rarely a major visual problem as the surgery to remove them is so successful. In ancient times and even up until late in the 20th Century, cataract surgery was not as successful. There were far higher complication rates and often poor outcomes. Even if successful, the large incisions meant much slower recovery and patients usually had to wear spectacles that could distort their vision. As a result, patients would often wait until their cataracts were advanced before considering surgery.

Cataracts can affect the sharpness and clarity of vision as well as the perceived colour.

The best example of cataracts affecting an artist occurred with the great French Impressionist, Claude Monet. Monet was 86 years old when he died in 1926. He was known to have cataracts in the early 1900's and there is a definite temporal correlation between his cataract development and change in style. Many of his late paintings depict his world in broad strokes, and he began to shun colours from the blue end of the colour spectrum.

After years of frustration, Monet eventually agreed to cataract surgery in 1923.

This was a complicated process and he required three operations. He had to lie flat on his back with sandbags placed next to him to prevent any movement in the post-op period. He was depressed and frustrated with the slow recovery and the distortion from his spectacles.

It was probably not until mid 1925 that he eventually felt comfortable with his vision and the quality of his work. He steadfastly refused to have an operation on his other eye and remained blind in that eye.

Below is a link to a site with detailed information on artists, including Monet, and their eye problems.

Click here

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The Cataract Care Centre is run according to world's best practice. We are a boutique practice with a simple goal – helping clients achieve optimum eyesight by providing the finest quality eye care available with a skilled and dedicated team of professionals. This ensures you receive the best, most convenient and cost-effective treatment possible. 

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