Ian Constable


  • The University of Western Australia (M517), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


Professor Ian Constable AO was the founding Managing Director and is now the Patron of the Lions Eye Institute. An internationally renowned ophthalmologist, Professor Constable was the Managing Director of the LEI between 1983 and 2009 and in 2018 celebrated 50 years in ophthalmology.

Professor Constable studied medicine at the University of Sydney and began his career as a Resident Medical Officer at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney before commencing as a trainee registrar in ophthalmology in 1968. Following a period engaged in retinal research as Clinical Retinal Fellow at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and consultant surgeon and Lecturer at Harvard University, he moved to Western Australia where he took up the inaugural Lions Chair of Ophthalmology at The University of Western Australia. At 32, he was the youngest Professor of Ophthalmology in Australia at that time. He was also the foundation Professor of Ophthalmology and retinal surgeon at Royal Perth Hospital.

In Western Australia, Professor Constable moved rapidly to launch an innovative research program and elevated the cause of saving sight to all levels of government and in the business and wider communities.

Among other achievements, Professor Constable:

• Established a training program for ophthalmologists, ensuring world’s best practice medical eye care became available to Western Australians.

• Established an international postgraduate training program for visiting Fellows.
• Worked with UWA to establish the Centre of Ophthalmology and Visual Science within the Faculty of Medicine.
• Served in leadership positions on multiple international and local bodies, including the Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology and as Chairman of the Premier’s Science Council.
• Undertook many and varied trips to Indonesia and other Asian countries to teach and demonstrate surgery, contributing to the development of quality eye care in those countries.
• Carried out screening programs in remote and rural Western Australia for trachoma, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.

He has significantly contributed to the development of Western Australia as a place to study and over the years he has attracted talented post-graduate students from around Australia and throughout the world.

In 1983 Professor Constable became the founding Managing Director of the new Lions Eye Institute and in 2018 was appointed Patron.


Areas of clinical speciality

-          Retinal vascular disease

-          Diabetic retinopathy

-          Macular degeneration

-          Complex eye problems


Positions outside of the institution

-          Consultant retinal surgeon at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (1976-present)

-          Consultant retinal surgeon at Perth Children’s Hospital (1976 – 2000)

-          Consultant retinal surgeon at Royal Perth Hospital (1975-1990)


Research interests

-  Gene therapy for macular degeneration

-  Macular telangiectasia

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

External positions

Patron, Lions Eye Institute

2020 → …

Managing Director, Lions Eye Institute



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