Donor Impact Report 2019

Sydney Eye Hospital Biopen Team

In a few months we will be celebrating our 40th anniversary. Yes, it has been 40 years since our founding in 1981.

And we take pride in knowing they have been remarkable years filled with aspiring doctors and research, leading to discoveries which have revolutionised the treatment of eye disease and clinical and hospital care.

We have never had a year like 2020, however—a year of a world-wide virus pandemic which has caused unprecedented social and economic upheaval and, worst of all, affected millions and brought deaths in the hundreds of thousands.

Yet, through it all, through the months of lockdown and isolation, our scientists and doctors have continued their vital quest for cures for the various eye diseases that today affect 13 million people. And that’s just in Australia!

In 2019 we allocated grants totalling $1,272,715 with $498,255 enabling eight young doctors to build their skills and experience and enrich our hospital’s expertise and patient care as well as contributing to our vital research work. Clinical and Research Fellowships are also integral to the mission of the Foundation.

$1,275,697 distributed in grants in 2019

Thanks to donors, we gave a total of $530,254 just for research alone. Here are just five of our teams of experts and a brief description of their innovative and essential work:

  • Professor Gerard Sutton and his team (pictured above) has developed the corneal biopen, a revolutionary 3D printing pen that seals eye wounds to treat corneal injuries and corneal ulceration, a major cause of blindness in developing countries. It causes hospitalisation of 55, 000 Australians annually.
  • Professor Stephanie Watson and her award-winning work identifying the reasons for and causes of corneal infection which can lead to blindness and are the most common reasons for lengthy stays by patients in our eye hospital. They affect all ages.
  • Dr Greg Moloney whose research on a different approach to treating corneal swelling in people with Fuchs dystrophy. This avoids the need for a corneal transplant thereby freeing up precious donor material for other patients.
  • Professor Mark Gillies whose successful use of low energy lasers is transforming the lives of those with diabetic macular edema without the need for ongoing eye injections.
  • Professor Alexander Klistorner who with his colleagues has studied new methods of assessing damage and repair in multiple sclerosis.

Critically, The Foundation is planning for the future by supporting the next generation of researchers through PhD grants. Four research grants have supported young researchers in the areas of cataract development, corneal and meibomian gland disease and retinal diseases. The work of all four has resulted in publications in leading medical and scientific journals. Two of these young scientists have already successfully completed their theses whilst the remaining two are on track for successful and timely completion.

Hospital equipment, too, must be constantly reviewed and improved and the Oculoplastic Unit which specialises in reconstructive surgery was updated in 2019 with new high definition cameras, lights, and operating tools in its theatre at a cost of $232,329.

It is thanks to our donors we can support this world class research, provide the specialist equipment, and add valuable expertise through our Fellowship and Scholarship Programs that Sydney Eye Hospital is renowned for.

Our total commitment to Sydney Eye Hospital this year is $1.2 million.

There is a lot still to be done with an exciting redevelopment of the Outpatients Unit in 2020-2021 and with the help of the community we can do it.

On behalf of the Foundation, thank you for seeing what is possible.