Adelyn Koh started piano lessons when she was three. That was the best option to build up her auditory sense in order to compensate for her visual disability from a rare eye disorder, Peters Anomaly. From 10 – 13 years old, she performed as a pianist for the President’s Star Charity, a fundraising concert by Mediacorp that features local and international artistes performing alongside beneficiaries. At around 13, she gravitated towards singing as a co-curricular activity and discovered that playing an instrument (she had also picked up the violin by then) without singing did not give her complete satisfaction.
She has since made singing her main artform and has just completed her Diploma in Music at LaSalle College of the Arts with singing as a major. While Adelyn acknowledged that the voice is a natural instrument from within, learning the right techniques and practising vocal exercises required hard work as compared to singing through a sense of feel. She started lessons in classical singing before she joined LaSalle but through her programme at the college, she learnt that very different techniques were needed to sing pop (as in blues and contemporary) versus classical pieces. She has also sharpened her listening and memory skills preferring not to read a braille score – not reading a score made her no different from sighted people who do not read music scores. The formal training has also taught her how to visualize her audience, project and target her voice and adopt the correct posture.
Adelyn’s three years at LaSalle have given her the best learning experience so far. The college has provided her with a very positive environment, and she is grateful and appreciative of the support from her teachers. It was also at LaSalle that she formed a particularly strong friendship with someone who accepted her for who she is. She did not reveal details of her condition till they bonded as “knowing about my condition was more like a detail about me rather than something that defines me”.
Apart from singing, Adelyn has developed the skill of voice acting and aims to do this as a career lending her voice for animation, video games, mascots that need voices... She is excited that with voice acting, she can use her voice to portray different characters and this diversity keeps her active and engaged. She has been getting work on voice acting to build up her portfolio. Her ultimate ambition is to go international. With her talent, enthusiasm and determination, the world will be her stage.
DISCOVER HER ACHIEVEMENTS HER CONDITION
"Melody Snowflake" for Adelyn Koh's Diploma in Music Year 3 recital (2023)
Peters Anomaly is a condition that causes the cornea, the clear window in the front of the eye, to be cloudy or opaque. This clouding of the cornea can prevent the normal development of vision. It is a congenital condition, meaning it is present at birth, and can involve one or both eyes.
Along with Peters Anomaly, other structures in the eye may also be affected. A child with affected cornea may also have a cataract (clouding of the clear lens of the eye), glaucoma (a condition where the eye pressure is elevated), under development of other structures in the eye or where normal tissue in or around the eye is missing The corneal opacification may also result in amblyopia or “lazy eye”, which reduces vision further, and crossed eyes where the eyes are misaligned.Appearance
Under normal conditions, the cornea is completely transparent. With Peters Anomaly, part or all of the cornea is cloudy or even totally opaque. In serious cases, the eyes may be smaller than normal and undeveloped.
If the condition affects both eyes and is severe, the child may only be able to perceive vague shapes and colours.
It usually cannot be detected through prenatal screening but the white corneal opacity is usually noted by the paediatrician at birth, and diagnosis confirmed by an ophthalmologist.
The cause of Peters Anomaly is unknown. It may be due to environment or genetic factors. There is some association with certain gene mutations. The critical event causing the improper development of the eye would have occurred in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
The same genetic mutations causing Peters Anomaly can also affect other organs and systems of the body and may result in heart and kidney problems, deafness, learning difficulties, cleft lips and cleft palates. When this occurs, it is known as Peters-plus syndrome.Treatment
Early detection is important and a diagnosis be made as early as possible through a thorough eye examination.
Although the corneal opacity may improve spontaneously during the first months of life, it is very difficult to predict the degree of vision the child will have. The goal of early treatment is to provide the best possible vision for the child and this requires a multidisciplinary approach involving ophthalmic specialists, pediatricians and learning specialists. Surgical treatment may be necessary in serious cases with dense corneal opacities and cataracts.
Many patients with Peters Anomaly may not develop good vision in the involved eye(s) even with treatment.Useful links