A Not For Profit Organisation Signup for LEI Updates

Professor David Mackey

Font Size

Professor David Mackey

“His original research into the genetics of glaucoma has received continued research funding support for the past two decades.”


Professor Mackey was appointed Managing Director of the LEI and Professor of Ophthalmology/Director of the Centre for Ophthalmology and Visual Science at UWA in March 2009. Professor Mackey has achieved international recognition as a genetic ophthalmologist/scientist. His original research over more than 25 years into the genetics of glaucoma and in the fields of optic atrophy and congenital cataract has received continued research funding support. Dr Mackey announced that he was stepping down from the role of Managing Director of the LEI in late 2018 to focus on several major research projects.

Make a Booking

2009-2018 Managing Director of the Lions Eye Institute
2016-2016 Associate Dean (Research), Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, The University of Western Australia
2005-2009 Clinical Professor, Pfizer Australia Senior Research Fellow, University of Tasmania
1997-2009 Associate Professor, University of Melbourne Department of Ophthalmology
1993-2009 Ophthalmologist, Department of Ophthalmology, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne
1993-2009 Ophthalmologist-in-charge, Ocular-Diagnostic (Genetic) Clinic, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, Melbourne
1998-2003 Research Associate, Murdoch Institute, University of Melbourne
1996-2004 Research Associate, Menzies Institute, University of Tasmania
1994-1996 Senior Lecturer, University of Melbourne Department of Paediatrics.
1993 Wellcome Research Fellow, Clinical Fellow in Hereditary eye diseases, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Great Ormond St Hospital, London UK
1991-1993 Clinical Fellow in Ophthalmology, Johns Hopkins Center for Hereditary Eye Disease, Baltimore USA.
1990-1991 Clinical Research Fellow in Ophthalmology, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne

1991 Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists
1991 Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons

Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology Achievement Award 2016
American Academy of Ophthalmology Achievement Award 2015
Kevin Bell Winston Churchill Fellowship Trust Award 2015
Harvard Club of Australia Non-profit Fellowship Award 2014: Strategic Perspectives in Non-profit Management course at Harvard Business School.
RANZCO Excellence in Training Award 2012
Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology Distinguished Service Award 2011
Alcon Research Institute 2010 Awardee
University Foundation Graduate Award, University of Tasmania 2009
Prize for the best scientific presentation at the European Glaucoma Society Meetings in 2000 & 1996
Rudin prize (New York Academy of Medicine) for the Science paper on the GLC1A gene, as the best glaucoma paper published in the world for 1997.
Kabi Pharmacia award for the best scientific paper at the 1993 Royal Australian College of Ophthalmologists, annual scientific meeting 1993
Founders cup for the best scientific paper at the Oxford Ophthalmological Conference 1993

2017 - Academy of Asia-Pacific Professors of Ophthalmology
2016 - Regional Secretary (Australia & New Zealand) and Chair of the Membership Committee, Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology
2016 - Mentor, Leadership Development Program for Women in ARVO
2015 - Member, Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists’ Leadership Development Program
2015 - 2017 Member, Executive Committee, Glaucoma Research Society
2014 - Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences
2013 - 2015 Member, Medical & Dental Workforce Council, Western Australian Department of Health
2012 - 2015 Member, National Health and Medical Research Council’s Human Genetics Advisory Committee
2011 - Member, American Academy of Ophthalmology’s Basic and Clinical Science Course sub–committee and re-wrote the chapters on genetics.
2011 - 2017 President, International Society for Genetic Eye Disease and Retinoblastoma
2011 - 2016 Member, Council, Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists
2011 - 2014 Chair, Western Australian branch, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists
2009 - 2014 Member, WA State Government Neurosciences & The Senses Health Network eye health advisory group
2009 - 2010 Member, National Health and Medical Research Council’s Panel for the evidence based medicine guidelines for glaucoma.

At the Lions Eye Institute Professor Mackey provides second opinions for patients with rare genetic eye diseases and more common genetic eye diseases involving new genetic research
Director, Centre for Ophthalmology and Visual Science, The University of Western Australia
Member, Faculty Research Committee, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, The University of Western Australia
Chief Investigator on four NHMRC research grants:
2017 - 2020: Project Grant 1121979. Young adult myopia: genetic and environmental associations
2017 - 2019: Partnership Grant 1132454. Targeting at risk relatives of glaucoma patients for early diagnosis and treatment (TARRGET)
2016 - 2021: Centres of Research Excellence Grant 1116360. From discovery to therapy in genetic eye diseases
2019 - 2023: Program Grant 1150144. Translating genetic determinants of glaucoma into better diagnosis and treatment

Prof Mackey is a renowned international researcher in the genetics of eye disease, with over 350 peer-reviewed papers published since 1989. He is a lead investigator in the International Glaucoma Genetics Consortium (IGGC) and the Consortium for Refractive Error and Myopia (CREAM).

He coordinated an international consortium in eight countries to establish the frequency of Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON) mutations in 130 pedigrees with almost 12,000 family members. His doctoral thesis and ongoing work into LHON identified two of the three main mutations predisposing to the disease and established the phenotype-genotype correlations (in particular genetic and age risk for visual recovery). His research extends beyond the laboratory to cascade genetic screening for at-risk individuals.

In 1993 Professor Mackey initiated the Glaucoma Inheritance Study in Tasmania, creating one of the largest glaucoma biobanks in the world, and contributing to the discovery of over a dozen genes associated with mendelian genetic eye diseases. The Twins Eye Study in Tasmania and Brisbane has been a further source of innovation, with Professor Mackey and the other study investigators having now identified genes for myopia, corneal thickness, intra-ocular pressure, optic nerve size and glaucoma. In 2007-8, he led the Norfolk Island Eye Study, examining 800 descendants of the Bounty Mutineers as part of a major genetic eye study.

In Western Australia, he has collected ocular, genetic and environmental data on 1,350 Western Australian Pregnancy (Raine) Cohort participants and 5,000 participants of the Busselton Healthy Aging Study. Another study begun in 2012 is investigating the environmental factors of outdoor activity, sun damage and myopia and since 2017 eye examinations on the Kidskin cohort.

With the identification of the genetic causes of many eye diseases and the extensive cataloguing of genotype-phenotype data for Australian pedigrees, Professor Mackey’s group assists in providing national diagnostic and counselling services that allow accurate information to be provided to patients and eye care providers and avoid unnecessary investigations and uncertainty.

Fellowship in Paediatric and Genetic eye diseases at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, where he completed his MD thesis
Fellowship at the Johns Hopkins Centre for Hereditary Eye Diseases in Baltimore and Moorfields Eye Hospital and the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children in London

Stay updated
on LEI News

Let's get Social - /lionseyeinstitute

Like to stay up to date? Subscribe for LEI updates and be the first to know.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.