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    Famous artist, ophthalmologist team up so children can see ‘brighter’


    Blake wrote a letter to the hospital expressing his sentiment of the ophthalmology unit being the new home for his work: 

    “That these pictures are in a children’s unit is very appropriate and especially pleasing to me. I spend a lot of my time looking at drawings and I have a special pair of spectacles that lives on my drawing board which I never lose sight of. In fact, that’s not quite true, as sometimes they get in among the drawings and I spend ages looking for them!”

    Understanding how careful Blake is in giving away his work, Dr. Maling felt honored that such a small hospital could be the new home of his artwork. The artwork included well-known characters such as Matilda, The BFG, Mr. Fox, and Willy Wonka.

    Starting conversations

    (Photos courtesy of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust)In addition, the bright, familiar artwork does more than simply add an aesthetic component to the waiting area, but has also opened the door for more dialogue between families and between the physicians and children. Dr. Maling recounts a family looking at the pictures with the grandmother, telling her granddaughter how she used to read the books as a little child. “Watching people be re-excited about things with their children or grandchildren is something I just think is fabulous,” Dr. Maling said. “I’m a huge fan of getting kids to read and trying to get kids in eye clinics to engage in other things while they’re waiting. We get them to try and copy the pictures; it’s just nice to have them feeling a bit like we’re doing something for them. I think kids are quite often forgotten when they come to hospitals, and as eye doctors, we don’t always have a standalone pediatric eye unit.” She said the waiting area now feels a little bit more like home to the children.

    The ophthalmology department is a full-spectrum unit which offers all eye care services including optometry, orthoptics, surgery, and medical care. Patients in the ophthalmology department can be as young as babies born up to 20 weeks prematurely.

    “Even the teeny, tiny ones get to see [the artwork],” Dr. Maling said. “In fact, they get to see these pictures before they even are meant to be born.”

    Impact on clinical exams

    Jolie Higazi
    Jolie is the Content Specialist for Ophthalmology Times. She can be reached at [email protected]

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