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Dr John Downie

Medical Retina Specialist

About Me:

Dr John Downie is a Medical Retina Specialist, Senior Vitreoretinal Surgeon and Complex Cataract Surgeon. He studied Medicine at the University of Sydney, graduating with Honours in 1987, and trained as an Ophthalmologist at the Sydney Eye Hospital, where he was the Professorial Senior Registrar in 1995.

Dr Downie undertook further sub-specialised training as a retinal specialist at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London as a Vitreoretinal Surgical Fellow, under the prestigious Renee and Francis Hock Research Fellowship.

Dr Downie is the first retinal surgeon to work and operate in Sydney’s South and the Wollongong region, and has been caring for patients with retinal and cataract diseases since 1999. He routinely accepts difficult cataract referrals from his surgical colleagues and has performed a considerable number of both cataract and vitreoretinal procedures during his career.

Teaching & Training:

Dr Downie has twice received the Trainer of Excellence Award by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists.

He is involved in both patient care and the teaching, and the supervision of ophthalmology trainees and vitreoretinal surgical fellows at the Sydney Eye Hospital, Prince of Wales Hospital and Sydney Children’s Hospital.

His interest in training young ophthalmologists extends to work overseas. Under the auspices of the Fred Hollows Foundation and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists, Dr Downie regularly travels to Cambodia to teach trainees in the Cambodian Ophthalmology Residents Programme.

Special Interests:

  • Diseases of the retina, macula and vitreous; macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, retinal vascular occlusions, macular hole, epiretinal membrane and retinal tears and detachment.
  • Cataract surgery, complex cataract surgery, difficult intraocular lens insertion


  • MBBS (Honours), University of Sydney, 1987
  • Fellow, Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (FRANZCO)
  • Member, Australian & New Zealand Society of Retinal Specialists

Surgical Training & Research

  • Ophthalmology & Ophthalmic Surgery Fellowship, Sydney Eye Hospital, Sydney
  • Medical Retinal & Vitreoretinal Surgery Fellowship, Moorfields Eye Hospital, London
  • Renee and Francis Hock Research Fellowship, Moorfields Eye Hospital, London

Consulting Locations

  • Hurstville
  • Miranda
  • Wollongong
  • Chatswood

Hospital Accreditations

Dr Downie is accredited to perform vitreoretinal and cataract surgery at the following hospitals:

  • Sydney Eye Hospital
  • Prince of Wales Hospital
  • Sydney Children’s Hospital
  • Waratah Private Hospital, Hurstville
  • Chatswood Private Hospital
  • Sydney Surgical Centre, Randwick

Career Achievements

  • Chairman of the Diabetic Retinopathy Working Group for the NSW Health Agency for Clinical Innovation’s Community Eye Care Project, which aims to improve the management of retinal problems in NSW.
  • Highest surgical closure rate of contributed cases to the Macula Hole Project – the preliminary findings of which have been published in the May 2016 edition of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.