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The Hole In My Vision: An Artist’s View of His Own Macular Degeneration

Lee Allen

Iowa City: Penfield Press, 2000

by: Brian Schumacher

The author of this book chronicles in writing and drawing the changes in his vision brought on by macular degeneration. He was in an unparalleled position to do so, since, after studying art in the 1930s, Lee Allen took a job in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Iowa as an ophthalmic medical illustrator. When he noticed in 1988 the first spots in his vision indicative of macular degeneration (he was seventy-eight at the time), he began to keep an illustrated journal, drawing “the entoptic phenomena (images that originate and exist inside the eye of the beholder) that are experienced by patients with [the disease],” and describing what he saw when looking at the world through these images. His intent was to help other people with macular degeneration see their own scotomas and seek medical care as early as possible in the progression of the disease.