​​Division of Ophthalmology

The Division of Ophthalmology strives to render the best possible ophthalmic care to our patients, to provide the best possible training to both our under- and postgraduate students and to expand locally applicable knowledge of ophthalmology by performing relevant clinical and laboratory based research within the discipline.

After its beginnings in Karl Bremer Hospital, the clinical department of Ophthalmology was relocated in 1974 to the new facilities on the 7th floor of the Tygerberg Academic Hospital. Since the early sixties the department has been graduating a constant stream of well qualified specialist ophthalmologists for South Africa, most of who have spent their professional careers in the country.

The Division of Ophthalmology at Stellenbosch University has been training future ophthalmologists since January 1961. The first ophthalmologist to graduate was a lady, Dr Renée Truter. Prof Linda Visser has recently taken over at the helm of the division after 27 years' leadership of Prof David Meyer. Her specialist interests include medical and surgical retina and uveitis.  She is supported, in a full-time capacity by Prof Derrick Smit (anterior segment and uveitis), Dr Helga Abrahamse-Pillay (paediatric ophthalmology) and Dr Linett du Toit (medical and surgical retina).  Several part-time specialists assist with postgraduate and undergraduate teaching and training - Prof David Meyer (orbit and adnexal diseases), Dr Mark Johnston (surgical retina specialist), Dr David Steven (Glaucoma), Dr Junet van der Merwe (neuro-ophthalmology) and Dr Lorrimer Esselaar (undergraduate teaching). There are 12 registrar posts in ophthalmology, all of which are currently filled.  The ophthalmology unit at Tygerberg Hospital serves the eye care needs of a vast area, including Cape Town East Metro and the rural districts of West Coast, Cape Winelands and Overberg.

Over the past three decades two specialists annually have completed their training at this institution. Clinical ophthalmology is also responsible for the training of under-graduate medical students, general practitioners and supplementary health workers in the discipline of ophthalmology.
As a member of the Department of Surgical Sciences, the Division of Ophthalmology, as a clinical discipline will continue to add value to the department through well-structured and functioning under- and postgraduate programmes. Clinical services and research outputs will be optimised to remain on the currently high levels. Internationally, particularly within the African and Middle-Eastern context, the discipline will continue to expand its current working relationships and establish itself as an integral part of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.