Save Sight Institute History - Overview

Professor Peter McCluskey

Opening of the Save Sight Institute at its new home at The Sydney Eye Hospital, 1998 L-R: Dame Leone Kramer, Prof John Young, Dr Andrew Refshauge, Mr Alan Judd, Ms Deborah Green, Dr Ian Rewell, Prof Gavin Brown


The Save Sight Institute was established in 1985 with Professor Frank Billson as the Foundation Professor.

In 1984 at the annual Lions convention in NSW, Professor Billson spoke of the urgent need for an eye institute to be associated with Sydney Eye Hospital. Following further meetings with representatives of NSW Lions clubs, the Lions Save Sight Foundation and Lions Clubs of NSW agreed to provide seed funding for an Institute to be established as a not-for-profit foundation.

Later that year a proposal for the Save Sight Institute to be a foundation of the University of Sydney was agreed to at a luncheon hosted by the vice chancellor, Professor John Ward, and supported by the dean of the faculty of medicine, Professor Richard Guy. It was agreed that the Institute be established in the teaching unit of the Crown Street Womens Hospital which had recently been closed.

In 1985 the Save Sight Institute was opened by the governor of New South Wales, Sir James Roland, in the presence of the chancellor of the University of Sydney, Sir Hermann Black; the mayor of Sydney, Douglas Sutherland; local member of parliament, Michael Yabsley; the chairman of Lions Save Sight Foundation, Ted Wilson; and past district governors, Ron Reavly and Keith Small.

In 1997 the Institute was offered the south block of the Sydney Hospital, which had housed hospital wards since 1867. The fundraising activities for the refurbishment of the Institute were undertaken by the director. Laboratories were commissioned, clinical areas established and the Institute was joined by the Lions NSW Eye Bank, Foresight Australia and the University of Sydney's Discipline of Clinical Ophthalmology.

In 2000 the Sydney Foundation for Medical Research funded a Chair of Experimental Ophthalmology. Professor John McAvoy was appointed to this position later that year and he now heads research in the Save Sight Institute laboratories.

In 2008 Professor Peter McCluskey was appointed Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology and Director of the Save Sight Institute.