About the Sydney Eye Hospital Honorary Fellowships

The Fellowships are fully funded by the Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation. In fact, since 1986, the Foundation has contributed nearly $6,000,000 to this program that brings fully qualified ophthalmologists from around the world to Sydney Eye Hospital to share their knowledge and learn new skills from our own expert surgeons and clinicians.

The Fellowships will provide the successful applicants a wide range of experience in clinical management (including surgery) and research such that the Fellows will be fully competent in their respective sub-speciality by the end of their Fellowship.

In turn, the Fellows will take their improved knowledge and skills back to their home countries, bringing the gift of sight to thousands.


Contributed since 1991

Honored Persons Behind the Named Fellowships

Graham Gordon Lovett AM, 1936-1999

Graham Gordon Lovett AM, 1936-1999, was a former professional tennis player, sports administrator and first President of Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation (1982-99).

Graham was a member of many State and National Boards relating to sport at the top level. He was a born marketer and excelled in all that he did. As first President of the Foundation he opened many doors and set the Foundation up for success.

Mabs Melville, 1918-2014

Mabs Melville was born into an American philanthropic family in New York. Her mother was a grand-daughter of Ezra Cornell, New York philanthropist, politician and co-founder of the Cornell University. Following this family tradition, generosity for supporting genuine causes became second nature for the rest of her long life living in New York, Hawaii and Australia.

After graduating from the William and Mary University in Williamsburg, Virginia in the late 1930s Mabs married a resident of Honolulu where she lived for the next twenty years. After her husband died, she visited Australia on a holiday and met John Melville who became her second husband and together they settled in Sydney. After John Melville’s death in the mid 1980s, Mabs married her third husband and moved to the North Coast of New South Wales. After his death in 1992 she lived alone supported by two staff members whom she had provided their respective properties nearby.

Mabs was a private person who never sought public recognition in her lifetime. One of her major bequests was to the Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation for perpetual ophthalmic treatment of patients at Sydney Eye Hospital.

Dr Edgar (Eddie) John Donaldson AO, 1920-2000

Dr Edgar (Eddie) John Donaldson AO, 1920-2000.

In 1952 Eddie started the Retinal Unit at Sydney Eye Hospital, when retinal detachment surgery was often a failure due to poor understanding and poor surgical techniques of the time. He reversed this trend and greatly improved the success rate of retinal detachment surgery.

He was very active in the planning and rebuilding of the Sydney Eye Hospital at its former location in Woolloomooloo, incorporating adequate facilities to establish a Chair in Ophthalmology. Eddie was a Fellow of Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation and many of his grateful patients made significant Bequests to the Foundation in appreciation of the fine care and treatment given to them.

Speciality Areas of Fellowships

The Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation offers one-year (12 months) Fellowships in the following speciality areas:

January – December each year

  • Glaucoma Fellowship
  • Graham Lovett Vitreoretinal Fellowship
  • Mabs Melville Corneal Fellowship
  • Professorial (Uveitis) Fellowship

July – June each year

  • Dr Eddie Donaldson Vitreoretinal Fellowship
  • Corneal Fellowship
  • Oculoplastic Fellowship
  • Medical Retinal Fellowship

Length of Fellowship Training

These Fellowships are for a period of twelve (12) months depending upon the practical start date, being either January or July each year. However, the applicant’s preferred start date can be adversely impacted by the lack of required information provided with their application.

Please note that lead times in getting all the necessary approvals in place can take as long as eight (8) months. Therefore, time and attention to the application instructions are of the essence – please ensure that you follow the guidelines in detail.

There is more detail on the application process and requirements under the tab “Applying for a Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation Fellowship”.

Fellowship Qualifications and Requirements

Applicants need to be a fully qualified Ophthalmologist in their country.

As well, in their application, applicants need to provide the following:

  1. Evidence of English language proficiency (academic IELTS, OET, Academic PTE, TOEFL iBT, NZREX or PLAB or adequate evidence of exemption from the English test requirement due to secondary/high school and/or medical education was undertaken in English in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa, USA or the UK.
  2. Undergraduate medical degree
  3. Experience in postgraduate teaching to registrars and residents

Remuneration and Engagement Conditions

The Fellowships are honorary positions within the Sydney Eye Hospital because the Foundation pays the remuneration and associated costs for each Fellow, not the hospital.

The current remuneration (which is taxable under Australian Income Tax Law) is set at $54,000 per annum. In addition, there is an allowance of $1,000 per Fellowship to cover certain registration costs that are imposed by Immigration, AHPRA and RANZCO. These amounts are subject to review.

Each Fellow will receive four weeks paid annual leave and timing will be dependent on approval from the responsible Head of Department.

The Foundation provides the Fellows with its own Wi-Fi network to be able to undertake work and research exercises in a quiet and secure environment. The hospital’s extensive library provides current and relevant biomedical information to enhance and support patient care, education and research.

The Foundation also provides the Fellows with accounting support to complete their taxation returns at the end of their 12-month Fellowships.

Fellows will be required to work evenings and weekends or public holidays depending on their rosters.

Performance appraisals are carried out and Fellowships can be terminated on poor performance.

Information on the next round of Fellowships

Fellowship application periods:

Please visit the Application Process page.

The Fellowships are subject to availability of placements within the Sydney Eye Hospital.

Approval of funding for a specific Fellowship by the Foundation does not necessarily mean that a placement will be available. Placements are determined by the Clinical Services Director.