Emma Werowinski

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Textiles ’18

I am incredibly grateful to have excellent vision in my left eye.

However, I cannot see out of my right eye because of Coats Disease.

You wouldn’t know this unless I just told you. Here I pause for you to squint at your screen, tilt your head slightly and try to picture it, lifting up your hand to cover your right eye so that you can “see” what I mean, pun intended. But it doesn’t work that way.

I don’t often talk about this bilateral-half-blindness except to make jokes about it, or to apologize for bumping into someone. The reality of only seeing out of one eye, affects my life constantly, and yet it doesn’t. My work has nothing to do with it, and yet it has everything to do with it at the same time. In comparison to people who see out of both eyes, my eyesight might seem like a series of coping mechanisms. But I don’t feel compelled to analyze about how my day-to-day is different.

Recently, my mom shared that she knew she didn’t have a normal suburban kid when she realized that she couldn’t enroll me in soccer. Upper middle class suburban childhood + fewer seeing eyes = no flying objects. Probably the entire course of my life stems from being enrolled in ballet instead, no flying objects there either. Human society prizes vision above all other senses, but there are many types of vision. I love my eyes and I’m proud of them both ways.

Five year old me wanted to keep my right eye in a jar if I had to have it removed; this is common with Coats Disease patients. So if, and more likely when that happens, I guess I’ll have to make art about it. Until then, artists are asked to see the world differently, so I’ll just continue doing that.