A Lifetime Love of Learning
Aubrey Sykes has experienced adversity and triumphs all his life, which has prepared him for one of his biggest challenges yet: overcoming vision loss. When Aubrey was a child, he was placed in an orphanage and at the age of five moved onto a farm to work. After the age of 18, he went to college and subsidized his education, taking on as many shifts as possible at a local restaurant. He uncovered his passion for development and analysis while attending college, later obtaining his PhD in chemical engineering.
Aubrey went on to oversee teams and projects for major international corporations and had his hand in the development of things such as the glue that holds together furniture and materials used in a smartphone. After 35 years, Aubrey moved on to share his knowledge and passion for education by teaching at the university level around the country. Aubrey stepped down from his position at Calvin University after noticing changes in his eyesight that affect his ability to work with students. With growing concern about his vision, he turned to his ophthalmologist for answers.
Testing revealed Aubrey had glaucoma, a progressive disease that changes the appearance of the optic nerve over time ultimately leading to blindness. Today, he has complete vision loss in his right eye and partial vision in his left eye. He has seen the most significant changes to his vision over the past three years but has been working towards learning independence with the help of the Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center. He has worked with Lighthouse instructors to practice mobility, cooking, technology, and other services related to adjusting with vision loss.
While losing one’s vision is life-changing, Aubrey still believes in living every day to the fullest. In addition to his Lighthouse courses, Aubrey likes to keep fit in both mind and body. He participates in yoga, works out three days a week, as well as getting in 10,000 steps a day with his wife, Nyna. He continues to build upon his culinary skills and enjoys a great story when listening to audio books. Aubrey credits the Lighthouse with helping him adapt to his new way of life; a life that continues to defy the odds.