We are very pleased to supply spectacles to one of our more interesting patients, Lydia Kennaway, seen pictured.
As a music publisher, Lydia developed a patented system for the production of braille scores for blind musicians which is a huge achievement as she started life off with difficulty relating to her eyesight.
Lydia was born in a US military hospital in 1954 with acute strabismus (crossed eyes) and had no usable vision until the age of 10 months, when she had corrective surgery, followed a month later by a second operation. At 5 years of age, she had further surgery, and at 8 had occlusion therapy, covering her dominant eye to encourage the weaker (amblyopic) eye to work. By the age of 9 it was accepted that Lydia would have to make the best of what she had (amblyopia, nystagmus, astigmatism and monocular vision), and with free use of her stronger eye began to read fluently.
She is also accomplished in poetry writing which give a view on her early experiences of visual impairment, and the difficulties overcome through medical interventions.
She is currently studying for an MA in Writing Poetry at Newcastle University and in December 2017 won the Flambard Prize for Poetry.
Thanks to those early surgeries, Lydia has mostly been able to do what she wanted to do, with some limitations.
… the frame was called.
Not my first glasses, but the pair
I got when I was seven: pale blue
flecked with silver sparkles.
Winged, as was the fashion.
In the mirror I saw not my eyes,
nystagmus-busy and magnified,
but glamour beyond my dreams.
Pleased as a doll, I showed my brothers,
who swiftly turned the name to Potty Time.
~ ~ ~
Beside my bed was an oblong china dish,
spooky painted eyes and a caption that screamed
HERE THEY ARE ~ LOOKING AT YOU
Every week or two, I’d lose my glasses.
I wondered why I was the only one to see
the absurdity in asking me
– the one without the glasses –
to look for them. Years later,
in the back yard, something glints
at the bottom of the apple tree
and a memory drops like a ripe
fruit: climbing the tree but first
taking off my glasses.
To keep them safe.