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NUS don first non-American to head Cornea Society

24 July 2012

Prof Tan, holding a direct ophthalmoscope for routine eye inspections, has been a pioneer in cornea research and innovations

Photo: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
A top Singapore eye doctor has been appointed the President of The Cornea Society, the first time for a non-American. Professor Donald Tan, Medical Director of the Singapore National Eye Centre and Chairman of the Singapore Eye Research Institute, is also an ophthalmology professor at NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine's Department of Ophthalmology.

The Cornea Society, a prestigious international organisation advancing knowledge and research about the cornea and the external eye, is a platform for eye specialists globally to exchange information on the latest developments in the field.

Prof Tan is a pioneer in clinical, surgical and translational research and education in the field of cornea and refractive surgery. He has contributed significantly to major innovations in corneal and stem cell transplantation, refractive surgery and myopia treatment.

The leading eye surgeon was among the early proponents to develop the modern techniques of keratoplasty and transplantation that are being widely used around the world. His inventions included surgical instruments to ease and improve procedures for eye surgery. For instance, a device named the Tan Endoglide which he jointly designed with another doctor has helped decrease the rejection rate of replacing the inner layer of living eye cells from 10 per cent to below 3 per cent.

Prof Tan formed the Asia Cornea Society that seeks to reduce corneal blindness in Asia, as well as the Association of Eye Banks of Asia which advocates eye donation and eye banking activities in Asia. He has won multiple international and local awards, including Singapore's inaugural top President's Science Award and the Casebeer Award by the International Society of Refractive Surgery and the American Academy of Ophthalmology.