“It gives me great joy to restore sight.”
Professor Ian Constable AO was the founding Managing Director and is now the Patron of the Lions Eye Institute. He continues to consult at the Lions Eye Institute Nedlands and at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.
An internationally renowned ophthalmologist, Professor Constable was the Managing Director of the Lions Eye Institute between 1983 and 2009 and in 2018 celebrated 50 years in ophthalmology.
Professor Constable studied medicine at the University of Sydney and began his career as a Resident Medical Officer at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney before commencing as a trainee registrar in ophthalmology in 1968.
Following five years engaged in retinal research and a clinical Fellowship at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and consultant surgeon and Lecturer at Harvard University, in 1975, he took up the inaugural Lions Chair of Ophthalmology at The University of Western Australia. He was also the foundation Professor of Ophthalmology and retinal surgeon at Royal Perth Hospital.
In Western Australia, Professor Constable moved rapidly to launch an innovative research program and elevated the cause of saving sight to all levels of government and in the business and wider communities.
Among other achievements, Professor Constable:
- Established a training program for ophthalmologists, ensuring world’s best practice medical eye care became available to Western Australians.
- Established an international postgraduate training program for visiting Fellows.
- Worked with UWA to establish the Centre of Ophthalmology and Visual Science within the Faculty of Medicine.
- Served in leadership positions on multiple international and local bodies, including the Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology and as Chairman of the Premier’s Science Council.
- Undertook many and varied trips to Indonesia and other Asian countries to teach and demonstrate surgery, contributing to the development of quality eye care in those countries.
- Carried out screening programs in remote and rural Western Australia for trachoma, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.
He has significantly contributed to the development of Western Australia as a place to study and over the years he has attracted talented post-graduate students from around Australia and throughout the world.
In 1983, Professor Constable became the founding Managing Director of the new Lions Eye Institute and in 2018 was appointed Patron.
Areas of clinical specialty
- Retina, second opinions and medico-legal
- Retinal vascular disease
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Macular degeneration
- Complex eye problems
- Gene therapy for macular degeneration
- Macular telangiectasia
- Officer, Order of Australia (1987)
- Inaugural Sir Charles Court Inspiring Leadership Award (2008)
- ANZAC Peace Prize (2006), awarded by the Returned and Services League
- Centenary Medal of Australia (2000)
- Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis
- Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
- American Academy of Ophthalmology
- American Vitreoretinal Society
- Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology
- International Council of Ophthalmology (2000-2006)
- Chair, WA State Science Council (2000-2007)
- Lowy Medical Research Foundation
Current hospital/University affiliations
- Consultant retinal surgeon at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (1976-present)
- Consultant retinal surgeon at Perth Children’s Hospital (1976 – 2000)
- Consultant retinal surgeon at Royal Perth Hospital (1975-1990)