Ophthalmology and Dan Flavin

An extraordinary ordinary event:

I went to the ophthalmologist last week for my semi-yearly retina check up (Plaquenil, my maintenance medication for lupus can cause retinal deposits and needs to be monitored). When I was there, I had the usual read the letter/number lines across the room test, but I also had to have my pupils dilated for the doctor to have a look inside. After he put in the dilating drops, I waited in the waiting room for about 15 minutes (I read Species of Spaces by Georges Perec). I then was back in the examination room for more tests.

One of the tests he performed, that I can’t find the name of, was a seemingly simple test with what seemed like a magnifying lens and a bright light. Right side: First, I had to look down and then the doctor opened my eye wide with his fingers and placed the round magnifying lens right in front of my eye. I had to try my best to look forward without blinking. Very hard to do when looking straight into a blinding light. It took a minute for me to stop blinking and for him to get the correct position of the lens into my eye. When he did, though, I stopped blinking and saw smack-dab in the middle of my eye what appeared as a vertical beam of brilliant yellow light. A few seconds later, he switched eyes and the same steps repeated with the same beam of yellow light.

I thought in my examination chair, “I’m seeing a Dan Flavin!” The sculpture was inside my organs of sight. Flavin’s diagonal of May 25, 1963 was inhabiting my body.

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