Aspiring Oswestry artist Jane Davies’ creative career is back on track after she had sight-saving surgery at a Shrewsbury eye clinic.
Seventy-year-old Jane has been taking her art skills to a professional level in recent years, with the aim of selling her paintings to a wider audience, but the onset of a cataract in her left eye was making her time in front of the canvas more difficult.
Over time, cataracts become worse and start to interfere with vision. Important skills can be affected, such as driving, and loss of vision can affect the overall quality of life in many ways including reading, working, hobbies and sports. If left untreated, cataracts will eventually cause total blindness.
Jane, from Oswestry, was due to have an operation on the NHS. However, because the pandemic had caused a backlog of surgery for sight and other procedures on the NHS, she was booked in at Newmedica Shrewsbury, which has been assisting the NHS with its waiting lists.
Within a few weeks Jane was at the clinic to be assessed – and was met by celebrations because she was the centre’s 500th patient.
She says: ‘They gave me huge balloons and a lovely plant. It was a really nice surprise and I was able to meet everyone there and talk to them. I was a bit nervous about the operation because I was worried about how it would affect my ability to draw and paint, but it was fine – and I didn’t have any pain.
‘For the past 12 months I’ve been painting four or five hours a day, but it was making my good eye weaker because it was having to work harder to compensate for the eye with the cataract.
‘I draw animals freehand, using thousands of black pen dots to create the values and contrasts, and then I add flowers in detailed watercolour. I need to see the fine dot details and varying tones in the watercolours clearly, and I need good eyesight to be able to do that, so I hope my work will improve further now I’ve had the operation.
‘I want to sell my art online and via social media, so having had this operation is a big bonus for me. I want to show people that being 70 doesn’t mean you have to stop doing the things you enjoy. You can still start new things and be productive.
‘I’m so glad to have had the operation, and being the 500th patient was a lovely surprise. I actually shouldn’t have been there because I’d been hoping to go to Australia to visit my son and his family, but pandemic restrictions meant I couldn’t go, so I had the operation.
‘Within weeks of the surgery I’m now carrying on with my art, and at the end of March I am flying to Australia. My operation has been so important for me ahead of the flight because I will need to see the signs clearly in the airports and will want to enjoy the scenery and landscapes in Australia.
‘Having the operation can be a bit unnerving, but I’d definitely urge anyone thinking about it to go ahead. Why spoil your life by not doing it? I didn’t have any pain and now I’m back enjoying my art and getting ready to travel around the world.’
Newmedica Shrewsbury opened last October at the Shrewsbury Business Park, Anchorage Avenue, with the aim of reducing waiting times for NHS and private patients.
Cinty Yarnell, Operational Director at Newmedica Shrewsbury, says: ‘It was lovely to meet Mrs Davies and we were delighted to have her as our 500th patient.
‘It’s wonderful to know that the surgery means she’s able to carry on with her art and share it with other people. We love to hear of patient experiences like hers. As she says, the operation really can make such a significant difference to people’s lives.’
For further information about Newmedica Shrewsbury, go online at www.newmedica.co.uk/clinics/shrewsbury
Pictured: Jane Davies.