Judith Lavery was born in Ilford, Essex in 1954. She loved school and excelled but from a young age had a great affinity for colour and expressing herself and subsequently wanted to become an artist. Her father was not so keen, and guided her towards following a profession.
She took this advice and read for her degree in optometry at City University, London in the early 1970s. During her undergraduate time, she worked at the London Refraction Hospital and after gaining her FBOA and FCOptom qualifications worked at Hutchings in Shenfield before making the move up to the East Midlands.