June 2016 | Meitheamh 2016

In Memoriam | Associate Prof Peter Barry FRCS

Wed, 1 June 16 16:09

It is with regret that we note the sudden passing of Associate Professor Peter Barry, Head of the Department of Ophthalmology at St Vincent’s University Hospital and senior retinal surgeon at the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, Dublin.  A graduate of UCD Medicine Class of 1973, Associate Prof Barry died on the 26th May 2016 after a short illness.

While an undergraduate Medical Student, Peter James Barry distinguished himself within the UCD Medical Society as a debater winning the Silver Medal (1970), Debating Shield (1971) and he won the Gibson Cup (1971), the Irish Medical School’s Debating competition.  He secured a Gold Medal from the UCD Medical Society in 1972 and graduated with an MB BCh BAO degree in 1973.  After completing his clinical training at Moorfield’s Eye Hospital, London, then one of the largest eye hospitals in the world, Dr Barry undertook a retinal fellowship in the United States of America.

His areas of clinical expertises included vitreoretinal surgery, diabetic retinopathy, endophthalmitis following cataract surgery, and outcomes of cataract and refractive surgery.  He had a significant international profile and travelled widely, lecturing and teaching at international medical congresses.  He was an internationally respected as lead organiser of a landmark study on preventing post-operative infection following cataract surgery which resulted in the widespread use of intraocular antibiotics to prevent devastating cataract surgery complications.  The study from 2003 – 2006 enrolled 16,000 patients in 23 centres in 9 European countries and reduced endophthalmitis rates from 0.33% to 0.05%.

More recently, Dr. Barry presented results from the ESCRS Femtosecond Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery (FLACS) study showing laser cataract surgery is as good as routine phacoemulsification but does not currently outperform it. The 2014 study was the first to compare FLACS and phacoemulsification in matched patients who were measured by major quality benchmarks: visual acuity, surgically induced astigmatism, complications, and biometric errors.

As a clinical teacher, Dr Barry taught medical students from UCD, RCSI and TCD at St Vincent’s University Hospital, and the Royal Victoria Eye & Ear Hospital as well as supporting basic, intermediate and higher specialist training in ophthalmology.  He was recognised as a UCD Senior Clinical Lecturer in 2008 and reappointed as UCD Associate Clinical Professor in 2015.

Associate Prof Barry served on the Board of the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons for over twenty years as Treasurer, Director and latterly as President. He was a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, the Irish College of Ophthalmology, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons, and the United Kingdom and Ireland Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons.

In a statement, the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons, said,

“It is with very great sadness that the ESCRS announces the death of our beloved colleague and friend Dr. Peter Barry.  He was a person of great vision who made an immense contribution not only to the success of the ESCRS but to the wider world of ophthalmology.”

The School offers our sincere condolences to his widow Carmel, his children David, Stephen, Simon, Lisa and to his many colleagues and friends.

Ar dheis Dé go raiibh a anam dilís.