The University of Melbourne was the first in Australia to establish a specialist ophthalmology chair - the Ringland Anderson Chair of Ophthalmology in 1958.
Gerard Crock was appointed as the foundation Professor and Head of the University Department of Ophthalmology in 1963. He served in this role until his retirement in 1986.
His successor, Hugh Taylor, held the Chair and was Head of the Department from 1989 until 2007 when he resigned to take up an appointment as Professor of Indigenous Eye Health at the University's School of Population Health. During his time in ophthalmology, Professor Taylor established the Centre for Eye Research Australia as a spin-off research institute building on the activities of the Department.
The current Ringland Anderson Professor of Ophthalmology is Jonathan Crowston, a glaucoma specialist who was appointed to this role in June 2009.
The Department of Ophthalmology together with the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital where it is based has been a partner in the Lions Eye Bank Melbourne (now: Lions Eye Donation Service) since the 1980s and was in 1992 designated a World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for the Prevention of Blindness.
Some 30 doctorates (both DMedSc and PhD) have been awarded to date to research students associated with the Department and a similar number of Masters degrees. The Department welcomes a growing number of research students each year. Research higher degree candidates interested in joining the Department can find further information here.