Ophthalmologists are typically only several inches away from patients during eye examination: this is thought to place them at a higher risk of catching illnesses such as COVID-19 from patients than most other specialists.

However, the current pandemic has not stopped the flow of emergency presentations to Sydney Eye Hospital, and the team remains committed to saving sight. Minimising the risks to both patients, their families and medical staff has been a key focus.

Thanks to donors of the Foundation, Dr Emily Shao (pictured) a current vitreoretinal surgical fellow commenced a Fellowship with Sydney Eye Hospital in July 2019. Emily is one of many, working on the frontline during the Corona Virus pandemic.

“My training at Sydney Eye Hospital has been excellent and it has been a privilege to train under a group of such experienced and dedicated consultants, learning to manage a wide range of cases,” Emily said.

Reducing the risks are of paramount importance to control the spread of the virus. Measures taken include enforcing the recommended distances required (greater than 1.5m), vigilance with handwashing, the meticulous cleaning of clinical surfaces and the implementation of new protective Perspex shields for slit-lamp microscopes.

Finally, clinic appointments and surgery are currently reserved for urgent cases only. This minimises the risk of exposure and saves precious resources (such as facemasks) during the pandemic.

Dr Shao, originally from the United Kingdom, continues to see urgent cases and perform urgent sight-saving surgery.

“The current environment has by no means reduced the amount of urgent work or indeed training opportunities, we are still so busy! But it has meant deferring more routine follow-ups and surgery for the safety of both patients and staff.

“The protective shields on slit lamps are a help and I am being ever more vigilant in hand washing and giving the slit lamp and thorough wipe down between each patient,” Emily said.

Thank you to all health care staff, medical professionals and all essential workers giving everything right now.

We are extremely grateful to all on the frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prof Gerard Sutton

Prof Gerard Sutton is an ophthalmic surgeon and Professor of Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology here at Sydney Eye Hospital.

He recently gave a radio interview on the problem of eye health during the 2019/2020 Australian bushfires.

Mark Gillies

Your support of Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation has helped fund a clinical study by Professor Mark Gillies that could help save the sight of millions. Diabetic macular edema, or DME, can be a devastating condition for people with diabetes around the world, causing complete loss of sight if it’s left untreated. It’s caused when fluid builds up because of leaking blood vessels in the macula – a small but very important area at the back of the eyeball.

SEHF Fellows 2019

Every year the Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation funds a number of Fellowships.

Experienced and talented eye doctors from Australia and overseas can apply for these 12-month positions, each in a different specialisation. Fellowships are keenly sought after and are a key Foundation funding goal: the worldwide exchange of knowledge and skills is vital.

Foundation Fellows work with patients, help train students in their specialisation and participate in research. The Sydney Eye Hospital benefits in numerous ways from these programs, including clinical research and national and international publication. Our Fellows return to their country with enhanced skills from their year on the floor of this fully operational Eye Hospital.

Our 2019 Foundation Fellows are:


Dr Noor Ali

Dr Noor Ali
Professorial (Uveitis) Fellow

Dr Noor Ali studied medicine at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and was drawn to the specialty of Ophthalmology in her first year of medical school for its intricate surgery, advancing research and imaging modalities. She completed her Ophthalmology Training and Uveitis Fellowship in New Zealand, and she is thrilled to join the Professorial Unit at Sydney Eye Hospital to learn from world renowned experts in the fields Uveitis and Medical Retina, and participate in ‘cutting-edge’ scientific research. In her spare time she enjoys trail running and Asian fusion cuisine.

Dr Tasneem Arsiwalla

Dr Tasneem Arsiwalla
Corneal Fellow

Tasneem has trained in ophthalmology in India and in 15 to 20 years from now, she plans to start a non-profit organisation which will enable patients to lead a life free from blindness. She is delighted to get the opportunity to learn from and work with some of the pioneers in the field of cornea, a field she enjoys on account of the surgical intricacies and the ability to have an extensive impact on vision. In addition she hopes to be engaged in research projects exploring inherited eye diseases. She is proficient in 5 languages.

Dr Ana Luiza Mylla Boso

Dr Ana Luiza Mylla Boso
Corneal Fellow

Ana Luiza studied Medicine at the University of Santa Catarina, in Brazil. During her internship, she had the opportunity to do an Ophthalmology observership in Germany, where she discovered how fascinating and resolutive this specialty was. After the completion of her medical degree, she moved to São Paulo for her Ophthalmology Training and Cataract and Corneal Fellowship, where she also engaged in Ocular Surface research. She then worked in her home town, mainly performing cataract surgeries for patients who depend on public health care. Seeking to excel in her field, she is thrilled with the opportunity to enhance her skills with renowned professionals at Sydney Eye Hospital.

Dr Raksmey Ea

Dr Raksmey Ea
Mabs Melville Corneal Fellow

Dr. Raksmey completed his medical and ophthalmology training at the University of Health Sciences Cambodia before working as a consultant at one of the largest public hospitals in the country. He is excited to learn new clinical and surgical skills from the leading innovators at Sydney Eye Hospital as well as a chance to live in one of the best cities in the world. After completing the fellowship, Dr. Raksmey will return to Cambodia to share what he has learned but most importantly he hopes to play a part in the establishment of Cambodia’s first Eye Bank.

Dr Amaka Vera Ofoegbu

Dr Amaka Vera Ofoegbu
Oculoplastic Surgery Fellow

Amaka studied at the University of Ilorin in Nigeria, and trained in Ophthalmology at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital. She is a Fellow of the West African College of Surgeons and also a Fellow of The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, United Kingdom. She has also completed an Oculoplastic Fellowship at University of Auckland/Greenlane Clinical Centre, New Zealand. She is enthusiastic about the year ahead in Sydney, and hopes to perfect her oculoplastic surgical skills. Amaka enjoys dancing, travelling around the world and long walks.

Dr Perach Osaadon

Dr Perach Osaadon
Graham Lovett Vitreoretinal Fellow

Perach trained in Israel, there she participated in clinical research and clinical teaching for medical students and junior residents. She is keen to learn from the vitreoretinal team at Sydney Eye Hospital, to improve her clinical and surgical skills. After the fellowship she will return to Israel to work as a vitreoretinal consultant. Apart from this great opportunity to learn from world class vitreoretinal surgeons, Perach is looking forward to spending a wonderful year in Sydney.

Dr Timothy Tang Lee Say

Dr Timothy Tang Lee Say
Medical Retinal/Uveitis Fellow

Timothy obtained his medical degree from the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, University of Santo Tomas, Philippines where he finished as Class Valedictorian, Summa Cum Laude. He finished his residency in ophthalmology in the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital. He recently finished his 2-year Vitreoretinal fellowship in Cardinal Santos Medical Center. He is excited to pursue further training in Medical Retina/Uveitis at the world-renowned Sydney Eye Hospital to improve his clinical skills, and to gain experience in conducting clinical research. He hopes to impart the knowledge gained here and serve as a Retina and Uveitis specialist in the Philippines.

Dr Emily Shao

Dr Emily Shao
Dr Eddie Donaldson Vitreoretinal Fellow

Emily graduated from Imperial College in London, and completed her ophthalmology training in the UK. She has completed a one-year vitreoretinal fellowship at the Sussex Eye Hospital in Brighton. She is looking forward to the opportunity to work and learn from some of the best vitreoretinal surgeons in the world at Sydney Eye Hospital. After completing her fellowship she plans to return to the UK to work as a vitreoretinal consultant. Outside of work, Emily plans to explore Sydney and the beautiful national parks in Australia in the year ahead.

Dr Zoya Rabkin-MainerDr Zoya Rabkin-Mainer
Glaucoma Fellow

Zoya trained in Israel. She has taught medical students, engaged in clinical research, and developed a special interest in glaucoma. She will take the knowledge & skills she gets here back to Israel and work as a glaucoma consultant. She’s thrilled by this once in a lifetime opportunity to work and study here.

Oculoplastic Fellow

Oculoplastic surgeon Dr Lai Yong Tai trained in Malaysia and has held fellowships in London and Melbourne. She participates in public screening events and clinical teaching for medical students, junior residents and paramedics. Lai is keen to learn new surgical techniques from our renowned oculoplastic surgeons over the next 12 months in Sydney, here with her family.

Mabs Melville Corneal Fellow

Daniel studied medicine in Colombia and ophthalmology in Madrid, where he is working on a PhD thesis on corneal topography. His goal is to improve his clinical and surgical skills in cornea pathology at our world renowned facility, and participate in the leading research the cornea team is performing. He hopes to pass on this knowledge when he returns to Colombia. Meantime he and his family are excited by the chance to visit Australia’s cities and beautiful landscapes.

Medical Retinal Fellow

Elisa completed her ophthalmology training at Sydney Eye Hospital. This is her second fellowship: last year she held the Professorial Uveitis Fellowship. Elisa is thrilled to join our renowned Medical Retina Unit to refine her skills. She will also continue her involvement with the macular research team, working to develop new treatments for the disease.

Dr Zaid MammoDr Zaid Mammo
Dr Eddie Donaldson Vitreoretinal Fellow

Trained in Vancouver, Dr Zaid Mammo has completed a one-year vitreoretinal fellowship at Columbia University in New York. He is thrilled to have the opportunity to learn from and work alongside some of the world leaders in the field of vitreoretinal surgery. On completing his fellowship, he plans to return to Canada to work as a consultant in a tertiary care centre. Outside work, Zaid is enjoying life in Sydney and exploring Australia.

Dr Shaan WiryasaputraDr Shaan Wiryasaputra
Professorial Uveitis & Medical Retinal Fellow

Shaan trained in Singapore. Drawn to ophthalmology for its marriage of clinical medicine and surgery, she has chosen to pursue subspecialty interests in medical retina and uveitis. She is grateful for the opportunity to train at Sydney Eye and is looking forward to honing her clinical and surgical skills under the tutelage of our fine team.

Dr Greg Moloney portrait

With your support, ophthalmologist Dr Greg Moloney is pioneering a new technique at the Sydney Eye Hospital that could restore sight to millions.

Greg’s ground-breaking work is tribute to you and other generous supporters who help make Sydney Eye Hospital an internationally renowned institution.

Almost 10 million people around the world are waiting for a corneal transplant. But only one in 70 will get the treatment they need to save their sight.

Greg knew there had to be a better way.

Through his work at Sydney Eye Hospital, he developed a new technique that restores sight without the enormous costs, logistics and ongoing medication involved with a corneal transplant.

Many people waiting for corneal transplant suffer from Fuchs Dystrophy, a disease that causes protein to build up on the inner surface of the cornea, causing it to swell and eventually leading to severe vision impairment.

In the past, the only option would have been a complex procedure involving a corneal graft. That would require life-long anti-rejection medication and the use of precious donated eye tissue.

Greg set out to change this. As he explains:

“The goal is to remove that protein causing the problem, and stimulate the patient’s own cells to heal. The procedure itself takes only six or seven minutes.”

“If we can find any way to give patients with Fuchs Dystrophy a non-transplant option the potential effect on our specialty could be enormous. Patients will be taken off the waiting list, and valuable transplant tissue will go to someone else who needs it more.”

Greg’s work at Sydney Eye Hospital has already been recognised internationally – but Greg is no stranger to pushing the boundaries.

He was the first surgeon in Australia to perform a Boston Keratoprosthesis implantation (artificial cornea) and Osteo-odonto Keratoprosthesis procedure (tooth in eye).

It’s a long way from country Wagga Wagga, where Greg grew up before graduating with honours from the University of NSW, and training as an ophthalmologist here at Sydney Eye Hospital.

The Sydney Eye Hospital is proud to call Greg one of our own, and we can’t thank you enough for helping make sure his talents benefit people around the world.

Right now, Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation is raising funds to give an operating theatre a makeover that will take much of the equipment off the floor and suspend it from the ceiling.

Effects of Cataracts on Vision

As we get older, the clear lens in our eyes can become cloudy. Our vision might grow blurry and faded. This is called a cataract. When symptoms first appear, you can use stronger lighting and glasses to cope with weaker vision. Eventually you may need more. Cataracts are treated by removing the cloudy lens with surgery.

It can be caused by a build-up of pressure when fluid in the eye isn’t draining properly.

Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the optic nerve, the essential link between the eye and the brain. They are one of the world’s leading causes of visual disability, which should be preventable with early diagnosis and effective treatment.

Ishihara Plate No. 1 (Number 12). Used to for the en:Ishihata test of color blindness.

Colour blindness (which experts call more accurately “Colour Vision Deficiency”) is the inability to see some colours or to tell some apart from others. The condition affects more than one in 20 males and a smaller but significant number of females.

What causes colour blindness?
We can see because of receptor cells at the back of the eye called rods and cones. Colour is seen via the cones, which distinguish red, green and blue. In some people, one kind of cone is not working, like a colour TV set on the blink.

The main cause is genetic – you get it from your parents or grandparents. But colour blindness can also result from disease and accidents. Some causes we know about include: an acquired brain injury; eye diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy; some drugs; and vitamin A deficiency.

Gregory Moloney, MD

Primary descemetorhexis for Fuchs’ dystrophy

Gregory Moloney, MBBS (Hons), MMed, FRANZCO, FRCSC – Ophthalmologist at Sydney Eye Hospital, Australia, describes results of his study of primary descemetorhexis for Fuchs’ dystrophy.

Greg’s study was funded by the Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation thanks to our supporters donations and bequests.

Gregory Moloney, MD

Recorded at the 2018 American Academy of Ophthalmology, Chicago.

You can read more in our October 2018 inFocus Newsletter.