• Vol. 36 No. 10, S61–S64
  • 15 October 2007

Art and the Eye: The Impact of Ocular Pathology on Their Artistic Legacy

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ABSTRACT

Introduction: In the cacophony of advancing scientific opinion, we often forget the issue that lies at the very heart of our discipline of ophthalmology. The very question that first brings the patient to his eye doctor – what is it exactly that he sees? Visual sensation is possibly the most complex of senses in the human body, and artistic expression is likely to be the most accurate representation of subjective visual sensations. This review intends to bring the reader a step closer to appreciating this fascinating gift of visual sensation, which we know and experience. Methods: Retrospective review of historical accounts by art historians on prominent works of art and the impact which their differing ocular pathologies played in the creation of their enduring artistic legacies. Results: Succint review of prominent works of art and the likely impact of ocular pathology in the creation of these artistic legacies, thus allowing an increased appreciation of the visual sensations reported by our presenting patients. Conclusions: Medicine’s spirited endeavours in the pursuit of treatment modalities leave us with a disproportionate lack of insight into an appreciation of our patients’ symptoms. This review will offer a view into the inner worlds of the artistically gifted, all of whom have left a legacy of enduring artistry to the world.


The review articles in this journal represent the advancing frontier of the dynamic specialty of ophthalmology. In the cacophony of advancing scientific opinion, we often forget the issue that lies at the very heart of our discipline of ophthalmology. The very question that first brings the patient to his eye doctor – what is it exactly that he sees?

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