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Dr Christolyn Raj is a Melbourne-trained ophthalmologist. One of her subspecialty areas is cataracts and laser-assisted cataract surgery, having worked closely with those who pioneered this technique in Australia during her post-fellowship years.
Dr Raj is also highly experienced in the treatment of retinal disease including age-related maculopathy, diabetes and retinal vein occlusion. She has established herself as a key figure in the field of retinal medicine, with several years of active research to her name, particularly in the area of diabetes. Her current research affiliate within the University of Melbourne is looking into novel therapies for the early treatment of diabetic maculopathy.
Dr Raj is a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) and an International Fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. She also holds the positions of Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Melbourne, examiner for RANZCO and reviewer for Australian Journal of General Practice: Ophthalmology Editorial.
Honorary Senior Lecturer, Ophthalmology and Visual Science, University of Melbourne, Victoria (2017 – present)
RANZCO Clinical Term Supervisor (2014 – present)
Convener, RANZCO ophthalmology seminar for pre-RACE trainees (2015 – present)
President, Indigenous and Public Health Office, Doctors in Training, Australian Medical Association (2009–2010)
Victorian Ambassador for Doctors in Training, Australian Medical Association (2009)
Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists
International Fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology
American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons
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.
Community involvement & charitable work
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.
Certificate of Achievement (‘100 Inspiring Women’), Australian Medical Association Eastern Division
Convener’s Award for Excellence, RANZCO Ophthalmology Seminar (2016)
Certificate of Excellence in Teaching: Lecturer (Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences), University of Melbourne Clinical School (2014)
Best Clinical Poster, American Ophthalmology Association (2010)
Perth Eye Foundation Bursary, Invited Speaker, RANZCO branch meeting (2007)
JJ Hunter Bursary for research in ophthalmology, Australian Medical Association (2005)
Rotary International Scholarship – cataract and refractive surgery, India (2005)
John Flynn Scholarship (2002–2006)
Education & training
Bachelor of Optometry, University of Melbourne, Victoria
Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery with Honours, University of Sydney, New South Wales
Ophthalmology training, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, Victoria
Master of Medicine, James Cook University, Queensland
Master of Public Health, James Cook University, Queensland
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