Annual Donor Impact Report 2020

A positive in this challenging year of pandemic and its unforeseen challenges was that Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation, with the clear support of its loyal donors, was able to give vital grants to Sydney Eye Hospital.

The Foundation thanks all the generous donors, who supported this essential service in 2020 and recognises many have supported since the Foundation’s inception in 1981.

Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation is proud to have awarded $745,256 in grants to 31 December last year to the hospital benefiting people and programs, equipment and research including:

  • Funding seven Ophthalmology Fellows $448,986
  • Funding three research projects contributing $56,020
  • Allocating $240,909 to provide equipment benefiting patient clinic waiting times

With an estimated 50,000 patients attending outpatient clinics each year, 6,400 inpatients, 6,000 requiring surgery and the 14,500 attended to in emergency services, these grants benefited more than 70,000 people.

$745,256 in grants benefiting 70,000 patients, programs, equipment and research in 2020

Importantly, training and development of registrars and junior doctors was boosted with seven fully trained Ophthalmology Fellows funded in 2020. The Fellows are given once in a lifetime experience working side by side the hospital’s specialists and contribute significantly to the frontline workforce, treating patients in clinics and performing surgery.

Vitreoretinal surgeon Professor I-Van Ho acknowledges the significant impact of the Foundation Fellows.

“They are the most senior training doctors in the hospital. Their contribution to the evaluation, care and surgical management of patients in the vitreoretinal unit is vital and considerable. They are also an important resource of expertise, support and teaching for junior ophthalmic staff in the hospital,” Professor Ho said.

Fellows contributed to the additional surgical sessions achieved at Sydney / Sydney Eye Hospital between July-December to address the 600 overdue cataract procedures which resulted when non-urgent surgery was suspended by the federal government because of COVID-19.

A funding boost of $50,000 was given to Associate Professor Alex Klistorner’s research team to progress research focused on helping people with multiple sclerosis (MS).

The trial used techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to develop a systematic way of looking at how MS affects the parts of the brain involved in vision. It explored how long-term changes induced by MS – including loss of the insulation of the nerve cells of the brain (myelin, which makes “white matter” white) – affects brain cell survival.

It also demonstrated the detrimental effects of ongoing low-grade inflammation in MS, and provided direct evidence for recovery of myelination in living subjects. In turn, the analysis developed will in the future be applied to assessing new MS treatments.

“We have also supported our frontline by funding seven ophthalmologists directly helping thousands of patients relying on clinics and surgical procedures," said Foundation Chief Executive, Linda Fagan.

“The pandemic has also highlighted the need to expedite our new strategic direction with an emphasis on improving our digital presence and capabilities so we can continue to communicate with donors and our community,” added Linda.

“With new challenges globally, our reach and potential impact because of our commitment to funding research extends beyond the hospital walls.” - Linda Fagan, Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation Chief Executive Officer.

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