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Assoc Prof Gavin Tan

Assoc Prof Tan Gavin

​MBBS, M Med(Ophth), MRCSEd, FRCS(Ed), FAMS, PhD (NUS)

Senior Consultant

Singapore National Eye Centre

Specialty: Surgical Retina, Cataract & Comprehensive Ophthalmology

Clinical Interest: Surgical Retina, Cataract & Comprehensive Ophthalmology

Conditions Treated by this Doctor:
Age-related Macular Degeneration, Cataract Surgery, Childhood Cataract, Diabetic Retinopathy, Intraocular Tumours, Macular Hole, Macular Pucker (Epiretinal Membrane), Retinal Detachment, Retinopathy of Prematurity, Uveal Melanoma.

Clinical Appointments

  • Head & Senior Consultant (Designate) Surgical Retina Department Singapore National Eye CentreSingapore National Eye Centre
  • Co-Lead, Diabetic Complications SingHealth Duke-NUS Diabetes Centre
  • Senior Consultant Cataract & Comprehensive Ophthalmology Department Singapore National Eye CentreSingapore National Eye Centre
  • Program Director SIDRP / Polyclinic Singapore National Eye CentreSingapore National Eye Centre
  • Head, Ocular Diagnostic Department Singapore National Eye CentreSingapore National Eye Centre

Academic Appointments

  • Associate Professor SingHealth Duke-NUS Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences Academic Clinical Programme
  • Academic Vice-Chair (Strategy, Innovation & Organisation Transformation) SingHealth Duke-NUS Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences Academic Clinical Programme


Associate Professor Gavin Tan is a Senior Consultant at the Retina Centre in Singapore National Eye Centre. He is also visiting Senior Consultant for the Ophthalmology service at the KK women and children’s hospital providing the pediatric retina service. He is a specialist in General Ophthalmology and Cataract Surgery, and a fellowship trained surgical and medical vitreoretinal sub-specialist with a clinical interest in diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, intraocular tumours, retinal detachments and pediatric vitreoretinal diseases. He set up the first ocular plaque brachytherapy service in Singapore in conjunction with the National Cancer Centre Singapore. In addition, he is actively involved with academic research and leads multiple Clinical Trials at the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI).

Associate Professor Tan is the Head of the Ocular Diagnostics department which includes the SNEC ocular reading centre (SORC), which is one of the major imaging reading centres for diabetic retinopathy and retina clinical trials in Singapore. He is involved in the development and implementation of a national diabetic retinopathy telemedicine screening program in Singapore (SiDRP) and is currently the program director for the SiDRP. SORC is also instrumental in the development artificial intelligence methods for the interpretation of retinal imaging. Besides imaging, Associate Professor Tan has research studies aimed at identifying novel biomarkers and improving treatment strategies in diabetic retinopathy. He also works in collaboration with the Endocrine and Nephrology groups at examining ophthalmic complications in diabetes and nephropathy trials.

Associate Professor Tan graduated with a Bachelor in Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) with Distinction in Biochemistry and Medicine from the National University of Singapore in 2003. He was awarded multiple Dean’s List Awards and the Singapore Medical Association (SMA) Medal for academic excellence. Associate Professor Tan started his career in Ophthalmology at the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC). From residency training, where he served as Chief Resident, he went on to complete a two-year fellowship in vitreo-retinal diseases and surgery at SNEC in 2014. Under the SingHealth scholarship, Associate Professor Tan pursued further overseas training in the field of vitreo-retinal. At the Byer Eye Institute at Stanford University, USA, he mentored with world-renowned Retinal specialists in paediatric vitreo-retinal diseases and the use of novel lasers for Retinal diseases. At the Jules Stein Eye Institute at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), he honed his clinical expertise in advanced retinal imaging, management of intraocular tumours, and the use of human stem cell derived RPE in the treatment of Retinal diseases.

In clinical practice, Associate Professor Tan’s philosophy is to provide his patients with the highest quality of care in a compassionate and patient centred approach. His expertise includes general ophthalmology, cataract surgery and retinal diseases of the eye in both adults and children. Associate Professor Tan is an experienced Cataract surgeon, performing complicated cataract surgery, offering multifocal and toric (astigmatism) intraocular lens as well as femtosecond laser assisted cataract surgery; and managing dislocated cataracts and cases requiring lens fixation. His main interests in the Retina are in advanced techniques in Retinal detachment and macular surgery, treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, paediatric retinal diseases and intraocular tumours including uveal melanoma.

Being passionate about eye research, Associate Professor Tan was awarded multiple grants to study Diabetic Retinopathy. His goal is to eliminate diabetic visual impairment and blindness by developing and evaluating new methods in screening, diagnosis and treatment of diabetic retinopathy with the goal of transforming clinical care and improving patient outcomes. His other research interests include the use of deep learning and artificial intelligence in ophthalmology, cell replacement therapy for retinal diseases and islet cell transplantation in the eye for treatment of diabetes. He has published scientific papers in respected peer-reviewed journals and has presented at numerous international scientific meetings. He also actively mentors medical students, residents and fellows and holds the concurrent appointments as Associate Professor at the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School.


  • PhD (NUS) (2018)
  • FAMS (2012)
  • FRCS(Ed) (2012)
  • MRCSEd (2007)
  • M Med(Ophth) (2007)
  • MBBS (2003)

Professional Appointments and Committee Memberships

  • Member, Retina Society (2023 - present)
  • Secretary, Singapore Society of ophthalmology (2018 - present)
  • Member, Macular Society (2018 - present)
  • Council Member, Asia-Pacific Teleophthalmology Society (2016 - present)
  • Member, American Society of Retina Surgeons (ASRS) (2014 - present)
  • Fellow, Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh (2012 - present)
  • Member, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) (2004 - present)


  • APJO: 2022 Asia Pacific Eye Top 100
  • Singhealth Duke NUS Team Research Award 2021
  • MOH National Clinical Excellence Team Award 2019
  • APAO Achievement Award 2019
  • Clinical Research Excellence Award, SingHealth (2017)
  • SingHealth-MOH HMDP Award: Fellowship in vitreo-retinal diseases and novel laser retinal treatments (Stanford University) & Fellowship in vitreo-retinal diseases: stem cell treatments for retinal diseases (UCLA, Jules Stein Eye Institute) (2014)
  • Travel Grant, The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) (2013)

Research Interests

  • Diabetic Retinopathy

  • Cell Replacement therapy in Retinal Diseases

  • Retina imaging

  • Telemedicine and Artificial Intelligence in Ophthalmology


  1. Tan GS, Gan A, Sabanayagam C, Tham YC, Neelam K, Mitchell P, Wang JJ, Lamoureux EL, Cheng CY, Wong TY. Ethnic Differences in the Prevalence and Risk Factors of Diabetic Retinopathy: The Singapore Epidemiology of Eye Diseases Study. Ophthalmology. 2017 Dec 4. [Epub ahead of print]
  2. Ting DSW, Cheung CY, Lim G, Tan GSW, Quang ND, Gan A, Hamzah H, Garcia-Franco R, San Yeo IY, Lee SY, Wong EYM, Sabanayagam C, Baskaran M, Ibrahim F, Tan NC, Finkelstein EA, Lamoureux EL, Wong IY, Bressler NM, Sivaprasad S, Varma R, Jonas JB, He MG, Cheng CY, Cheung GCM, Aung T, Hsu W, Lee ML, Wong TY. Development and Validation of a Deep Learning System for Diabetic Retinopathy and Related Eye Diseases Using Retinal Images From Multiethnic Populations With Diabetes. JAMA. 2017 Dec 12;318(22):2211-2223 
  3. Sobrin L, Chong YH, Fan Q, Gan A, … Tan G, …, Wong TY, Cheng CY. Genetically Determined Plasma Lipid Levels and Risk of Diabetic Retinopathy: A Mendelian Randomization Study. Diabetes. 2017 Sep 26. [Epub ahead of print]
  4. Liew G, Lei Z, Tan G, Joachim N, Ho IV, Wong TY, Mitchell P, Gopinath B, Crossett B. Metabolomics of Diabetic Retinopathy. Curr Diab Rep. 2017 Sep 23;17(11):102
  5. Fenner BJ, Tan GS, Tan AC, Yeo IY, Wong TY, Cheung GC. Identification of imaging features that determine quality and repeatability of retinal capillary plexus density measurements in OCT angiography. Br J Ophthalmol. 2017 Aug 16. [Epub ahead of print]
  6. Cheung CY, Sabanayagam C, Law AK, Kumari N, Ting DS, Tan G, Mitchell P, Cheng CY, Wong TY. Retinal vascular geometry and 6 year incidence and progression of diabetic retinopathy. Diabetologia. 2017 june. [Epub ahead of print]
  7. Ting DSW, Tan GSW. Telemedicine for Diabetic Retinopathy Screening. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2017 May 18. [Epub ahead of print]
  8. Ting DS, Tan GS, Agrawal R, Yanagi Y, Sie NM, Wong CW, San Yeo IY, Lee SY, Cheung CM, Wong TY. Optical Coherence Tomographic Angiography in Type 2 Diabetes and Diabetic Retinopathy. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2017 Apr 1;135(4):306-312
  9. Chong YH, Fan Q, Tham YC, Gan A, Tan SP, Tan G, Wang JJ, Mitchell P, Wong TY, Cheng CY.Type 2 Diabetes Genetic Variants and Risk of Diabetic Retinopathy. Ophthalmology. 2017 Mar;124(3):336-342 
  10. Ting DS, Tan KA, Phua V, Tan GS, Wong CW, Wong TY. Biomarkers of Diabetic Retinopathy. Curr Diab Rep. 2016 Dec;16(12):125
  11. Nguyen HV, Tan GS, Tapp RJ, Mital S, Ting DS, Wong HT, Tan CS, Laude A, Tai ES, Tan NC, Finkelstein EA, Wong TY, Lamoureux EL. Cost-effectiveness of a National Telemedicine Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Program in Singapore. Ophthalmology. 2016 Dec;123(12):2571-2580
  12. Toy BC, Schachar IH, Tan GS, Moshfeghi DM. Chronic Vascular Arrest as a Predictor of Bevacizumab Treatment Failure in Retinopathy of Prematurity. Ophthalmology. 2016 Oct;123(10):2166-75
  13. Gavin S Tan, Ning Cheung, Rafael Simo, Gemmy C Cheung, Tien Yin Wong, MD, PhD. Diabetic Macular Edema. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2016 Aug 2
  14. Schwartz SD, Tan G, Hosseini H, Nagiel A. Subretinal Transplantation of Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Retinal Pigment Epithelium for the Treatment of Macular Degeneration: An Assessment at 4 Years. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2016 Apr 1;57(5):ORSFc1-9
  15. Ng DS, Chiang PP, Tan G, Cheung CM, Cheng CY, Cheung CY, Wong TY, Lamoureux EL, Ikram MK. Retinal Ganglion Cell Neuronal Damage in Diabetes and Diabetic Retinopathy. Clin Experiment Ophthalmol. 2016 Feb 12. [Epub]
  16. Goh JK, Cheung CY, Sim SS, Tan PC, Tan GS, Wong TY. Retinal Imaging Techniques for Diabetic Retinopathy Screening. J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2016 Feb 1;10(2):282-94
  17. Chen L, Cheng CY, Choi H, Ikram MK, Sabanayagam C, Tan GS, et al. Plasma Metabonomic Profiling of Diabetic Retinopathy. Diabetes. 2016 Jan 28. pii: db150661. [Epub ahead of print]
  18. Tan GS, Kuehlewein L, Sadda SR, Sarraf D, Schwartz SD. Subretinal neovascularization in macular telangiectasia type 2: Optical coherence tomographic angiography and treatment response. Retinal Cases & Brief Reports. 2015. 9(4):286-9
  19. Ng WY, Tan GS, Ong PG, Cheng CY, Cheung CY, Wong DW, Mathur R, Chow KY, Wong TY, Cheung GC. Incidence of myocardial infarction, stroke and death in patients with age-related macular degeneration treated with intra-vitreal anti vascular endothelial growth factor therapy. Am J Ophthalmol. 2014 Dec 9
  20. Tan, G.S, Ikram, M.K, Wong, T.Y. Traditional and novel risk factors of diabetic retinopathy and research challenges. Current Medicinal Chemistry. 2013 Sept; 20(26): 3189-3199

Research Trials

  • Novel Multimodal Imaging in Moderate Diabetic Retinopathy to Predict Vision-Threatening Stages of Retinopathy
  • Deep Learning for Ocular Diseases
  • The Diabetic macular edema treatment response study: Can ocular biomarkers for predict Anti-VEGF treatment response and outcomes.
  • Submacular xenotransplantation of pluripotent stem cell derived retinal pigment epithelium in monkeys
  • A Novel Diabetic Macular Edema Screening Model using Spectral-Domain Optical Coherence Tomography in Primary Care Setting in Singapore
  • Islet transplantation into anterior chamber of the eye for the treatment of diabetes in kidney transplant recipients with type 2 diabetes 
  • Assessing the impact of vitrectomy on the macular vascular structure and function in patients with diabetic retinopathy.
  • Can Neuroretinal changes on OCT predict progression of Diabetic Retinopathy ?
  • DYNAMO: Diabetes studY in Nephropathy And other Microvascular cOmplications
  • Identifying ocular and systemic biomarkers for response to aflibercept in Asian patients with centre involving diabetic macular edema: A prospective interventional trial
  • Developing an animal model of dry AMD using subthreshold laser induced RPE damage in monkeys
  • Diabetic Retinopathy Screening in Singapore: Assessing outcomes and improving screen model with risk stratification and extended screening intervals
  • Outcomes, complications and mortality associated with Anti-vascular Endothelial growth factor therapy in Patients with Diabetic Macular Edema
  • Novel Biomarkers for Diabetic Retinopathy 
  • Genetic and Epidemiological risk factors for diabetic retinopathy