Tina is an artist and photographer, and an adult with CVI and severe learning disabilities. She only learned of her CVI when she was 19 years old. This was after she saw Dr. Nicole Ross at the New England Eye Low Vision Clinic at Perkins. Tina currently attends the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and uses her art to reveal what it’s like to be on the blindness spectrum and to show how she sees the world.
How Tina describes her CVI
“I live with silent blindness, CVI. I got diagnosed with CVI at 19. Now I understand why I can’t see the world around me.”
“I have facial blindness, depth perception issues, spatial blindness, and nighttime blindness. I don’t know where I am going a lot of the time.”
“I always had trouble focusing on the words on the page of a book.”
“Before being diagnosed with CVI, optometrists blamed my dyslexia for blurring out the words on the page or when I was writing essays for school. But Dr. Ross at the Perkins low vision clinic told my mom and me about CVI and it finally made sense why this was happening.”
“Especially during this pandemic, where there are so many visual cues, I have trouble seeing where six feet part is and I can’t recognize people that I know with masks on.”
CVI is unpredictable. Some days are clearer than others. Today I woke up and my vision is off. My nystagmus likes to work with my CVI to make seeing sometimes impossible.Tina, adult with CVI
This is how my brain sees
“I love drawing abstract with bold and loud colors.”
Tina’s art reflects how she sees the world. When asked why she likes to draw abstracts with bold colors, she responded, “This is how my brain sees, I can’t see depth. As an artist, I will never be able to draw realism because of my visual impairment.”
“I see the world in color. CVI has helped me realize color is a key part of my art-making. It helps me visualize what I am drawing or painting. Without color, it’s hard for my brain to comprehend what I am seeing and making.”
“Photography helps me see the world around me.”
Tina’s final project for digital photography: “My idea for the final project is to explore the concept of showing how I see the world. Since I’m a photographer who is visually impaired, I haven’t seen any examples through photography explaining what someone might see with my vision impairments: CVI and nystagmus. I have seen examples of someone’s vision with cataracts or glaucoma, but I have never seen it for CVI and nystagmus. So, this is my chance to give examples through photography of what a person might see with CVI and nystagmus.”
Each photo in this collection includes three frames of an outdoor scene, but the images in each frame don’t line up with each other. They create a disjointed picture of the scene. Some frames are blurry. The lighting may be different in each frame. The viewer may feel disoriented and as if parts of the scene are missing.
Explore more art from individuals with CVI. BBC news highlighted an art exhibition featuring photography and artwork by individuals with CVI: The visually-impaired artists sharing their world.