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Closeup image of Cecilia's gold prosthetic eye

My Story So Far

Hello there! I'm Cecilia Foerster, a 29-year-old artist with a visual impairment residing in Arizona. My journey with vision loss began in 2017 when I was working as a barber, my former passion. 

One ordinary day at the shop, I had noticed a blind spot in my left eye, near the top of my peripheral vision. Concerned, I promptly scheduled an appointment with my longtime optometrist. What followed is etched in my memory - my doctor's apology, the look of concern on his face, and urgent advice to visit Southwestern Eye Center, a top-notch eye center here in Arizona, immediately. A detached retina, or retinal detachment, is a very serious condition, requiring swift action. On the same day, my father and I rushed to my current specialist's office at Retinal Consultants of Arizona.

I remember that day vividly, at least the first part of it. My new retina specialist performed a procedure called cryopexy on my left eye, freezing the back of my retina to stabilize it and inserting an oil bubble to act as a shield against further detachment.

But that wasn't the end of the struggle. Retinal detachment progressed rapidly, leading to the excruciating Scleral Buckle surgery, an experience I wouldn't wish on anyone. They performed about four or five surgeries on my left eye within a year and a half, but none succeeded. I eventually lost all vision in that eye, complete with a rather fascinating cataract.

 

Despite the challenges, I continued to pursue my passion as a barber during this time. I learned to adapt to having a blind eye for about a year.

As time passed, my remaining eye, my right eye, began losing peripheral vision in the left side. Naturally, I sought immediate help from my specialist, who confirmed a small tear in my retina, allowing vitreous fluid to enter - a worrisome development. I remember being absolutely terrified and thinking, “this is it; this is how and when I become fully blind”. 

Laser surgery became the next step to create a barrier and prevent further fluid ingress. I enjoyed stability for about a year, until late February of 2023 .

My vision has been slowly deteriorating once again. Here's the twist: cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is somehow leaking into or through my optic nerve, causing additional vision loss symptoms. While I don't quite remember how he described it, that's the gist of it. Due to this CSF leakage, new symptoms have appeared in my central vision. These symptoms include constant flashing (contained in one spot centrally, think of it as a visual pulse instead of a white flash of light) and mild visual distortion. They have become quite distracting and are hindering even more of the daily activities I can do now.

Throughout this journey, I've continued to devote my time to creating art, spreading awareness, and fostering positivity and advocacy. Whenever possible, I lend support to others on their own vision loss journeys. My ultimate aspiration is to cultivate a more inclusive world, not only for the visually impaired and blind community but for the disabled community as a whole. I eagerly anticipate the path ahead and the change we can inspire together!

If you’ve read this far, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time out of your day to gain a little insight into my life as a visually impaired person actively living through their vision loss journey. I am SO excited to share more of my journey with you as I navigate through this new chapter of my life. 

Once again, welcome to Sacred Eye Art, I sincerely hope you find a piece of mine that speaks to you. <3

Love,

Cecilia Foerster

Sacred Eye Art

 

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