Dr Christolyn Raj is a locally trained ophthalmologist and a senior lecturer at the University of Melbourne, with subspecialty expertise in the areas of cataract surgery, laser cataract surgery and retinal disease. Dr Raj’s fellowship and post-fellowship training in Australia and abroad has made her a versatile cataract surgeon. She is highly experienced in both conventional and laser cataract surgery, having worked closely with those who pioneered this surgery in Australia during her post-fellowship years.
Dr Raj has also established herself as a key figure in the field of retinal medicine, with over 5 years of dedicated research and clinical work in wet age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and retinal vein occlusion. This experience has shaped her clinical expertise, and today she offers efficient and evidenced-based management of her patients in her retinal and cataract clinics.
Dr Raj’s early research with investigators at the Save Sight Institute in New South Wales looked at pathological processes of drusen that led to the irreversible sequelae in age-related macular degeneration. This research contributed to the understanding of this disease process, and has been instrumental in determining how the disease is managed today. Today, she dedicates much of her clinical time to investigating the pathological processes behind other retinal diseases, including macular telengiectasia and polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy (PCV), both of which have devastating complications and limited treatments available.
In the area of cataract surgery, Dr Raj’s work focuses on the impact of cataract surgery for pre-disposed individuals with retinal disease. Her current clinical research involves following a large cohort of patients with myopic refractive error and the development of retinal tears following cataract surgery. Dr Raj is a newly featured author in the ophthalmic magazine Mivision, where she often presents her research and evidence-based appraisals of various ‘hot topics’ in medical and surgical retina.
Dr Raj is also collaborating with the Royal Children’s Hospital to investigate ways to reduce the impact of morbidity and mortality from optic nerve pathway tumours. Her recent work has involved the creation of an iPhone and android app that can be used by clinicians to monitor the disease.
Dr Raj is passionate about educating and empowering the community on health issues. She has featured on A Current Affair to promote the need for diligence in monitoring chronic eye disease, and is a regular contributor to promotional material used to launch the annual Macular Degeneration Awareness Week campaign.
Dr Raj's philanthropic work has led to her establishing the 'Teddy Bear Eye Hospital’ featured in the annual Good Friday Appeal at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne. A simulated hospital for children, the Teddy Bear Eye Hospital helps to motivate children's interest in eye health while removing the stigma associated with visits to the ophthalmologist.
Dr Raj continues to be an ambassador for Vision Australia, a not-for-profit organisation devoted to caring for vision-impaired individuals. She has pioneered several hospital and community programs that educate the community about Vision Australia services, and is a benevolent supporter of Vision Australia's Carols by Candlelight.
Her philanthropic work in the area of indigenous eye health is remarkable. Having worked in indigenous communities throughout her medical training, she now partners with not-for-profit teams to investigate how to deliver outreach services to these communities.
Dr Raj has established a website dedicated to fostering communication between optometrists and ophthalmologists in the field of retinal medicine. Please visit theretinalhub.com.au.