50 Year Anniversary for Discipline of Ophthalmology at USYD
in Education, Events, History and People, News
22 Oct 2014
The Discipline of Clinical Ophthalmology and Eye Health last week celebrated 50 years of achievement and progress with a gala dinner held in the historic MacLaurin Hall at The University of Sydney.
Attended by over 160 people, including ophthalmologists past and present, the guest list included leading researchers, academics, industry stakeholders and special guests including Dame Marie Bashir, Professor Ian Constable AO, Ken Coles AO and Emeritus Professor Frank Billson AO.
Hosted by Head of Discipline, Associate Professor John Grigg, the night proved an excellent opportunity for many in the industry to reconnect and acknowledge the collective achievements of the ophthalmic profession in Australia over the past half-century.
A/Prof Grigg welcomed guests, saying “With its distinguished history and its exciting future, the Discipline of Clinical Ophthalmology is something I am very proud to be associated with. This is because of the remarkable teachers, researchers, clinicians and students who have made the profession what it is today. Together, we have played an integral role in caring for people with eye disease, and have had major and positive impacts on the lives of many individuals and families.”
Dean of Sydney Medical School, Professor Bruce Robinson, acknowledged and commended the history of strong leadership within the Discipline, starting with Dr Frank Claffy in 1964, followed by Dr Eddie Donaldson in 1971 and Professor Frank Billson from 1977.
Professor Robinson praised the Discipline’s bright future under the leadership of A/Prof Grigg, a tenure which has already been characterised by the introduction of innovative new models of teaching and learning and the continued integration of clinical care with basic science and clinical research.
Excellent graduate outcomes are evident in 70% of Master of Medicine (Ophthalmic Science) students being accepted to RANZCO training programmes (2005-2012) and 80% of their student research projects being published (2005-2011).
The recently introduced ‘Virtual Ophthalmology Clinic’ continues the Discipline’s commitment to leading the way when it comes to education and training. In conjunction with Sydney Eye Hospital, the Discipline also coordinates the annual Registrar Conference.
This year also marks ten years since the Discipline’s flagship Masters in Ophthalmic Science programme was introduced. Offered in partnership with The University of Otago in New Zealand, the programme has recently been expanded to include courses in ‘International Ophthalmology’ and ‘Cataract and Refractive Surgery’.
In 2013 the Discipline had its highest ever student cohort.
The Discipline of Clinical Ophthalmology and Eye Health now operates across eight clinical schools and incorporates two major eye research institutes: the Save Sight Institute and the Centre for Vision Research.
Research has expanded considerably since 1980 when the first NHMRC grant was awarded to researchers associated with the Discipline. Last year this had grown to approximately $7M in competitive grant funding.
There are now 12 major research units, and the clinic translation of research is especially evident in landmark projects such as the Blue Mountains Eye Study led by Professor Paul Mitchell. Also of note is the introduction of intravitreal triamcinolone and development of the multifocal visual evoked potential for objective assessment of optic nerve function.
The Discipline is recognised by the Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) Report which, since 2010, has consistently awarded it an ERA ranking of 5, the highest possible score for performing well-above international standards.