5 minutes with Professor Ravi Thomas

17 Apr, 2020

Recently, QEI Clinic’s Professor Ravi Thomas took some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about his personal interests and career highlights so far.

What interested you in ophthalmology?

My parents were both ophthalmologists – some of the first qualified in India in the late 1940’s. Rather than going to a big city, they elected to work in a small village in central India. There was not much to do in that village, so I spent my holidays from boarding school located in the mountains (Himalayas) at the clinic. I often sat in when Dad and Mom saw patients. Watched my first eye surgery at eight years of age, I think. I did medicine to do ophthalmology. I must say that I wavered twice during my MBBS course: I found forensics very interesting as well as the decision making process in obstetrics, but ophthalmology remained. I took up glaucoma and paediatric ophthalmology as I had really good teachers in both those areas during my MD Ophthalmology in Delhi. Incidentally my mother assisted me with my first cataract surgery and my first glaucoma surgery.

What interested you in working with the Queensland Eye Institute?

I was between jobs in India in 2008 when I got a call from Professor Hirst. He said QEI were looking for an academic glaucoma specialist and had heard I was available. He then got us over for an interview in Brisbane, offered me the job and arranged for us to move.

What has been your career highlight to date?

Some of my career highlights include:

  • Being appointed Head of Department of Ophthalmology at the Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
  • Working as Director LV Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, India
  • Being selected as member of the Glaucoma Research Society
  • Being invited to deliver the Fred Hollows oration at a RANZCO meeting in Hobart
  • Being invited to deliver the Gillies lecture for the Australia New Zealand Glaucoma Interest group during the World Glaucoma Congress in Melbourne in 2019
  • Publishing the first population based study on the prevalence of glaucoma in South India
  • Publishing the first papers on the progression of Primary Angle Closure Suspects and the progression of Primary Angle Closure

What research areas are you interested in?

Glaucoma mainly: I have done most of this work in Primary Angle Closure Disease. I like Clinical Epidemiology. I prefer Bayesian Statistics over conventional statistics in publications.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I used to practice martial arts and still do a bit of it – I’m not in full training though. I also like to spend time with the family, work on publications, play the harmonica, read and watch movies – Bollywood like Hollywood has a lot to offer.

Read more about Professor Ravi Thomas