An Eye for the Arts

Digital illustration by Sean Choate, depicting Ellie’s experience.

Ellie Stokes faced a uniquely challenging time during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, but found artistic creativity to be the perfect outlet.

In May 2020, Ellie was diagnosed by her doctor, neuro–ophthalmologist Nailyn Rasool, MD, with a rare form of double vision due to an artery compressing her sixth cranial nerve.

One treatment for her double vision was using prism glasses. These glasses are specialized, refracting light before it enters the eyes so that the light falls in the same spot on both retinas, creating a single image.

Since being prescribed prism glasses, Ellie has done very well. “I just love Dr. Rasool,” she said. “She’s been so wonderful and the whole staff at UCSF are incredibly supportive and welcoming.”

Ellie, a songwriter, has been working on an album that reflects on her experience and, as part of her inspiration, commissioned her friend Sean Choate to create the above illustration. “That’s what it felt like, two eyes under the glasses lens,” Ellie said.

Ellie is looking forward to releasing her album, possibly by the end of this year.