Josie Munro

Living life to the full at 84 years old with excellent new vision to boot

London artist, Josie Munro, has more energy than most.  Even at the age of 84 she enjoys ballet classes three times a week and has so many art projects there are not enough hours in the day.

Only her eyesight was letting her down as cataracts developed, but she has now had those treated with latest technologies at a specialist London eye hospital, which have freed her not only from the cloudiness of cataracts, but also from glasses altogether.

As a professional artist, she taught art for 45 years and only retired from teaching at the age of 81, where she worked at Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute.

Josie now focuses on her own projects. And they are no small scale.  She recently built an entire kitchen from scrap materials and created a dressing table to match her chest of drawers.

She has always loved to sculpt, draw, paint and collage, and says her home is full of her work, as well as exhibiting at solo and joint exhibitions.  She has a number of projects on the go and intends to start re-visiting galleries with her work soon.

All of this creative flair was at risk when she noticed her eyesight was getting worse and worse.

She says: “With my art, it was very difficult working from a model as my distance vision got worse, and my eyes no longer adequately even worked for close vision. It was very frustrating!

“I find it so frustrating even as you go to the supermarket and want to see use-by date and ingredients and having to put glasses on and off all the time.  I had glasses but the lenses fell out four times!

“This urged me to have the operation done and I went to three different hospitals but got a different opinion from each. One said the operation would improve my near vision, another it would only improve distance – I thought, either they do not have the facilities or do not know now what they are talking about!

“Then I saw an advert for a free open evening at Optegra, and thought there was no harm going along.

“After the talk I spoke to the surgeon, Mr Muen, and asked if could I get what you are offering on the NHS but no, they do not do it.  This operation at Optegra meant that I could have a special lens so I could see well at various distances. Luckily I had just sold one of my paintings, so I decided to go ahead.”

She was treated at Optegra Eye Hospital London, based on Queen Anne Street, where she opted to have an ‘upgraded’ form of cataract surgery where a multifocal lens is used, which means she had the chance to be free of glasses once and for all.

Her surgeon, Mr Wisam Muen, said: “Josie is such a great character and so full of enthusiasm for all her art – she is so busy, so creative, it would have been so sad for this to be curtailed by her poor vision.

“I am delighted that the treatment was such a success and she can continue her art and ballet without the hassle of glasses which she had worn for over 20 years.”

As for her vision now, Josie says: “It is wonderful!  I woke up the next morning and looked all my paintings on my bedroom wall – the colours were glowing!

“Even my life drawings which are mostly charcoal on white paper, even they looked so much better and really stood out. I am delighted and feel inspired, I can now get going with my art again!”

Josie is also now enjoying life more without the hassle of glasses.  She had danced professionally in her teens, and took up the interest again at age 49, when she wanted to take up some form of exercise. She says: “I tried jogging but it was so boring and was ruining my knees! I thought there must be something better than this and then heard of a contemporary dance class. I got there to find it was full of teenagers and thought I had bitten off more than I could chew!

“But the teacher spotted I had done ballet, and one of the class mates asked me to join her ballet class – I loved it and have been going ever since!”

Optegra Eye Hospital London is part of a network of specialist eye hospitals across the UK.

Optegra Eye Health Care is a specialist provider of ophthalmic services in the UK, Czech Republic and Poland. It operates 21 eye hospitals and clinics, bringing together leading edge research, medical expertise and state-of-the-art surgical equipment.  Its top ophthalmic surgeons are renowned for their areas of expertise, offering excellent clinical outcomes.

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