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Oxford Eye Hospital professor receives top national award

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A leading ophthalmologist from Oxford Eye Hospital has secured a top national award following high praise from patients.

Professor Robert MacLaren was one of the winners at 2019's Macular Society Awards for Excellence. He has been rewarded in the Clinical Service of the Year category in recognition of his exceptionally good practice in caring for people with macular disease. The award also highlighted Professor MacLaren's pioneering and innovative gene therapy work and his use of robotic surgery to help those affected by retinal diseases.

Professor MacLaren received his award from Macular Society chairman John Dunston at the charity's national annual conference, which took place at place at the Royal Leonardo London Tower Bridge Hotel on Saturday 21 September 2019.

Now in its 11th year, the Macular Society Awards for Excellence, sponsored by Churchill Retirement Living, is run by the charity to celebrate the inspirational work done to provide services and care for people with macular disease all over the UK.

Clinical Service of the Year was one of four honours handed out by the charity as part of the awards. There were also prizes for Optician or Optometrist of the Year; Rising Star of the Year, and a Chairman's Award for Volunteering.

Professor MacLaren is a practising consultant ophthalmologist at the Oxford Eye Hospital. He specialised first in Oxford and then moved to Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, where he was a consultant vitreoretinal surgeon and led research into age-related macular degeneration (AMD). He returned to Oxford as Professor of Ophthalmology in 2009 and currently leads a research team in the Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology.

He said: "I am delighted to have received this prestigious award from the Macular Society, which represents patients with sight loss from macular degeneration. In Oxford we always endeavour to deliver the highest quality of clinical care for patients with retinal diseases, both with standard care and innovative new technologies. It is therefore a great honour for me to accept this prize and I do so on behalf of the wonderful NHS team that runs our clinical service."

Cathy Yelf, chief executive of the Macular Society, said: "The commitment and dedication shown by Professor MacLaren is clear to see from the tremendous feedback we've received about his work.

"He really has made an incredible difference to the lives of people with macular disease and we're delighted his efforts have been recognised with this richly-deserved award."

Macular disease is the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK. Nearly 1.5 million people are currently affected and many more are at risk. The disease can have a devastating effect on people's lives, leaving them unable to drive, read or see faces.

Many people affected describe losing their sight as being similar to bereavement. There is still no cure and most types of the disease are not treatable. AMD is the most common form of macular disease, affecting more than 600,000 people, usually over the age of 50. 

For more information on the Awards for Excellence, or macular disease, call the Macular Society on 0300 3030 111 or email

Pictured: Professor Robert MacLaren (right) receives the Clinical Service of the Year award from Macular Society chairman John Dunston (left) at the Macular Society's annual Awards for Excellence.