Oscar Eckersley is now aged nine, however has already been battling with congenital glaucoma since he was just five months old. By the age of five, Oscar had already endured over 15 operations to stabalise the pressure in his left eye.
In 2014, Oscar’s Mum, Melissa, noticed that his left eye had increased in size, meaning the pressure in his eye was high again. At this point, Oscar was referred to Dr Mark Chiang, QEI Clinic’s Glaucoma, Cataract and Retina Specialist. Dr Chiang gave Oscar the option to have a Baerveldt tube implant, to which Oscar’s parents agreed.
After the surgeries, Oscar was terrified to open his eyes for fear he would no longer be able to see. It took him days to work up the courage, with the help of his favourite Disney character; Elsa from Frozen. “He would just sit with his head down, eyes closed and listen to Disney’s Frozen movie on TV over and over,” recalls Melissa.
“Elsa helped me get over the fear and just do it,” Oscar remembers.
Oscar was able to start school in 2016, after not being able to attend Kindergarten and Pre Prep due to his eye surgeries. Whenever Oscar has to travel from their Gold Coast home to Brisbane for an eye appointment, he always reminds Dr Chiang that he is “interrupting his education!”
To both Oscar and his parent’s joy, he has begun to play soccer this year, something he had previously not been able to do due to his surgeries.
For the Last Seen exhibition, Oscar has been paired with artist Adam Lester to share a special memory. When Oscar was four years old, he was told by his Opthamologist, Dr Chiang, that he was allowed to go to the beach. For two years, Oscar had not been able to spend time at the beach due to the risks the sun, sand and sea presented to the condition of his sight. As soon as Oscar heard this news, he headed straight to Main Beach on the Gold Coast with his Mum and one of his brothers.
Oscar often thinks about this memory and misses his time at the beach very much.
Sadly, in 2018, Oscar developed a cataract in his glaucoma affected eye and surgery cannot take place until the cataract worsens.
To view Oscar’s Last Seen and support the exhibition to save sight, purchase tickets here.