FEATURE – Local resident and Tuacahn High School student Kendyl Floyd, 16, is making a difference in the lives of those dealing with various eye conditions.
She experiences the daily challenges of blindness due to aniridia, an absence of the iris in both eyes.
Floyd came up with the innovative product design of the eyepod for those dealing with blepharitis and other conditions of the eye. Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids causing red, irritated, itchy eyelids and the formation of dandruff-like scales on eyelashes. Those experiencing blepharitis often use a washcloth or a product that covers their eyes to give them relief from the irritation.
Floyd noticed that most of the products were poorly designed and decided to make her own design which provides an easier, more comfortable fit to the eye that can be heated in the microwave or cooled in the freezer for convenient use. She now sells these products at the St. George Eye Center.
“Most eyepods are made rectangular, but that shape doesn’t really fit into the eyes the way it should,” Floyd said. “So, we have created a more tailored shape to fit into the eye socket so it will help better. It doesn’t have to be used just for blepharitis, it can be used for headaches, puffy eyes and just for relaxing…it’s just an easier way.”
Floyd is a recent gold medalist of the Paralympic sport goalball.
“Goalball is a sport for visually impaired and blind kids and adults. At my level there are teams for each state and we travel to Florida once a year to compete in a national tournament,” she said. “There is a ball full of bells and everyone is blindfolded so no one can see and you throw the ball back and forth and block the ball with your body. This year our team from Utah took gold!”
Away from her goalball training, Floyd is making a difference with her new eyepod design. She charges $5 for each eyepod, with a bag to hold it. She makes them all by hand by herself. This really is a labor of love.
“I know most of them cost $20 online and they don’t come with a bag, so, we are really doing this to help people,” Floyd said. “I just want to help people. I know what it is like to have an eye condition. It’s hard … I know I will never be able to drive, but it’s been 16 years, I’m used to it. I just want to help other people.”
In recognition of Floyd’s hard work, St. George Health and Wellness magazine donated to her cause. Those interested in buying an Eyepod or assisting in Floyd’s efforts through donations may contact the St. George Eye Center at 435-628-4507.
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Written by Jared DuPree for St. George Health and Wellness magazine and St. George News.
The editor of St. George Health and Wellness magazine, DuPree earned a doctorate in human ecology with an emphasis in research, wellness, and relationships from Kansas State Univerisity. He also earned an International MBA from the University of South Carolina with an emphasis in consulting and entrepreneurship. He has written numerous articles, curriculums, and book chapters on wellness as it relates to inviduals, families, and communities. He enjoys traveling, cooking, hiking, fishing, playing basketball, and spending time with his wife and three children.
Ed. Note: This article was first published in substantive part in the January-February 2013 issue of St. George Health and Wellness magazine.
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