Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

Deaths

Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

Deaths

Article excerpt

Gerard William Crock, Australia's first professor of ophthalmology, died in December 2007. His skills as a surgeon and the inventions of his team at Melbourne University "saved the sight of thousands," according to an obituary in the Sydney papers. Dr. Crock graduated from Melbourne University in 1953 with a degree in medicine. He undertook his specialist training as an ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, then worked as a senior lecturer in ophthalmology at the University of London, and subsequently was a Harkness fellow for one year at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Crock was appointed as Melbourne University's Ringland Anderson Professor of Ophthalmology in 1963, at age 34. It was the first medical specialty chair in Australia and only the second chair in ophthalmology in the British Commonwealth. He established the university's department of ophthalmology and much of the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital. He was chair of the hospital' s senior medical staff from 1982 until 1987, when he retired to private practice. Specializing in the retina, cornea, and glaucoma, Dr. Crock was Melbourne's leading cataract surgeon. Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Crock was a world leader in retinal imaging and a pioneer of fluorescein angiography, a technique for examining the circulation of the retina using a dye-tracing method. Together with Barry Cole, head of the Department of Optometry of Melbourne University, he established the Low Vision Clinic at Kooyong for the Australian Association for the Blind, which is now known as Vision Australia. With Bernard O'Brien, one of Australia's pioneering microsurgeons, he developed microsutures--needles and threads so fine that veins the size of a pin's head could be repaired or joined. With Jean-Marie Parel and Ljubomir Pericic of Melbourne University, Dr. Crock helped invent a whole range of microsurgical instruments, including the Schultz-Crock binocular ophthalmoscope and a corneal cutter for precision cutting of the eyes of donors and recipients in corneal transplants. Dr. Crock also worked with the Aboriginal community in Australia, ran fieldwork projects in the Philippines, the Cook Islands, and India, and was Hospitaller for the St. John Eye Hospital in Jerusalem, Israel, for more than 30 years. …

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