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Ophthalmology in Singapore

The seeds of ophthalmology in Singapore were planted back in 1934, when the first government eye department was established at Singapore General Hospital. Dr A.D. Williamson was appointed the first head of the eye clinic. Ophthalmologists at the hospital's eye clinic had access to two operating theatres which were used for major surgery and examinations under anaesthesia. The eye patients were mainly treated for cataract surgery, acute glaucoma and trauma. When Dr Williamson retired in 1957, Dr Wong Kin Yip, a returning Queen's Scholar, took over as the first local head of the eye clinic.​


(Earlier times: Drs A.D Williamson, Wong Kin Yip and staff, Singapore General Hospital, 1950)

Two years later, Dr Wong was succeeded by Dr Robert Loh who had just returned from training at the Moorfields Eye Hospital and the Institute of Ophthalmology in London. His contribution to public sector ophthalmology from 1959 to 1969 was significant. He personally trained the eye surgeons who staffed the department and also organised the 3rd Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology Congress in Singapore in 1968. Dr Loh was the Founding Chairman of the Society of Ophthalmology of the Singapore Medical Association, which was inaugurated on 11 January 1963. 

Ophthalmology in Singapore expanded with the launch of two new eye departments at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (in 1979) and the National University Hospital (in 1986). However, it was not until the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) was set up in 1990 that marked the beginning of rapid progress in ophthalmology in Singapore.

Check out our SNEC Story here.