Art is a tribute to experts who saved Megan’s sight

Just Regional
Mar 31, 2023 3 mins read

Budding artist Megan Welton suffered a big blow early in her career when she began losing her sight through a rare brain disorder.

But the 25-year-old has been able to reinvent her style – and life – thanks to medical experts and support staff who have helped save her vision and her career.

So she has raised money as a “thank you” by auctioning off two of her striking images of owls, named after the doctors who treated her.

Now things are literally looking brighter for Megan, from Taverham, who has also landed a job as a healthcare assistant at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, where she hopes to be able to support eye patients through her own experiences.

It is a place dear to her heart, having met fiancé Ryan Edge there when he took medical photos of her eyes.

Megan paints mainly animals and nature, having developed a love for both growing up in Cambridgeshire.

She started her honours degree in illustration at the Norwich University of the Arts in 2016 before her problems emerged.

“In the second year I began getting headaches and blurry eyesight. The opticians flagged up an issue and I was sent to the neurology and eye clinic at the N&N,” she said.

She was diagnosed with idiopathic intracranial hypertension, a condition that affects only one in 100,000 people, and was referred to neuroscience specialists at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, where she donated a sample of brain tissue to help with research.

Megan has also undergone research tests at the Moorfields Eye Hospital to look into inherited diseases of the optic nerve.

“I was initially given medicine to manage it, then needed surgery for a shunt in my brain to release the pressure, which has really helped reduce the headaches and improved my sight,” she said.

“I was nervous beforehand but got great support from the Headway brain injury charity, which helped ease my worries.

“The thought of brain surgery overwhelmed me, but I was at risk of losing my sight after already losing my peripheral vision, and I knew that wasn’t an option; I had to fight my body and not let the condition beat me. Having Headway there for me gave me hope.

“The N&N low-vision clinic also helped with equipment, such as magnifiers and special lighting to help me carry on my art, and improve life in general such as reading and writing,” she added.

“They suggested switching from my pencil drawings to layered bolder acrylics on a dark background. They’ve been amazing. I wanted to thank them and raise awareness of the neurosciences.”

Two of Megan’s owl paintings – named in tribute to her doctors, Mr Eke and Mr Joannides – along with the work of other artists raised £2,800 for Headway at an auction at The Forum.

A third, called Indu after her shunt nurse, recently appeared in an exhibition and is being considered as a piece of hospital art for Addenbrooke’s.

Megan takes commissions for animal pictures in tribute to lost family members, symbolising their characters.

Find out more about Megan’s paintings at @meganwelton_illustration on Instagram.

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