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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS


Home > News > Work of art from eye examination

Work of art from eye examination

Posted on Wednesday 26th September 2012
eyeball best

Artist Bridget Cox, right, hands over the painting to Medical Photographer Helen Atkinson, left, and Ophthalmology Sister Marina Forbes, centre

A patient was so inspired by a photo taken of the back of her eyeball during an appointment at the Cumberland Infirmary that she decided to turn the routine examination into a work of art.

Bridget Cox, an artist from Great Corby, near Carlisle, has now donated a print of the painting to the Ophthalmology Department at the hospital where it has been hung in a waiting area.

“I came for an appointment and got chatting to another patient as I was sitting waiting,” Bridget explained. “She said it would be nice if there was something to look at while you were waiting, rather than just a blank wall.”

Knowing that she was an artist, Ophthalmology Sister Marina Forbes showed Bridget photographs of the back of her eyeball which she had taken during her appointment, and Bridget decided to try to recreate the beautiful image on canvas.

“Marina said would I like to look at the pictures because she found them so beautiful,” Bridget said. “I used oil on board and used lots of glazes to build up the luminosity. I tried to be as accurate as I could – it took me weeks and weeks.”

Bridget went back to the Ophthalmology Department at the Cumberland Infirmary this month to hand over the painting to Marina and Medical Photographer Helen Atkinson, and it is now hanging in a patient waiting area.

Marina said: “I am really delighted that Bridget donated this picture to us. We have had lots of remarks on it since it went up on the wall; patients always ask us about it.

“The original image is known as a fundus photograph and we regularly take them of patients with diabetes and new patients whose eyes need investigating. I have been doing this for 20 years, looking at the back of eyes, and I still think they are beautiful. It has never ceased to amaze me.”

The painting shows the back of the eyeball with the optic nerve and blood vessels.

Bridget is artist in residence at Warwick Mill, near Carlisle, and also has works in the permanent collection at Tullie House.