Dr Paul Hughes Ophthalmologist

Dr Paul


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With more than 35 years of experience in cataract and refractive surgery (including ASLA, LASIK and SMILE), Dr Hughes now focuses his career on laser vision correction, including topography-guided LASIK (known as Contoura). He is one of the few surgeons in the world to offer this revolutionary procedure, which combines a femtosecond laser, excimer laser and corneal mapping tool to improve speed, accuracy and patient comfort. Dr Hughes also remains part of the clinic cataract team – he is available for consultations and post-operative care, while the cataract surgery is performed by his doctor partners. To treat keratoconus, Dr Hughes can perform collagen cross-linking. He is also available for general ophthalmology consultations, emergency cases and second opinions.

Career highlights

Career firsts

  • One of the first ophthalmologists from Australia to travel to the US to train in the radial keratotomy technique in the 1980s
  • Performed the first radial keratomy procedure in Australia (1983)
  • One of the first surgeons in Australia to start using the excimer laser for vision correction (1994)
  • One of the first ophthalmologists in Australia to open their own ambulatory day surgery (Hurstville, 1988)
  • Member of the Erlangen (Germany) R&D world clinical group involved in the development of the Wavelight Laser and its multiple platforms
  • Opened his own laser suite (1996)

Other professional achievements

  • One of the few surgeons in the world to offer Contoura topography-guided LASIK
  • Regularly invited to speak at international ophthalmic meetings and run teaching sessions

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists
  • Fellow of the Royal Australian College of Surgeons
  • Member of the American, European and Australian Societies of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • Fellow of the International Society of Refractive Surgeons


Dr Hughes is actively involved in ophthalmic research, speaks regularly at international ophthalmic meetings, has been published in peer-reviewed journals and has frequently appeared on national radio and television. He was involved in collecting data for the largest published series of laser-assisted cataract surgeries performed in the world to date. This data demonstrated that using laser technology during cataract surgery is safer and more precise than manual technology.

In his laser clinic, Dr Hughes has the Wavelight Refractive Suite (Alcon). This suite has a FS200 femtosecond laser to create the corneal flap, and one of the fastest excimer lasers in the world, the EX500 excimer laser, which comes with a 1,050-Hz multidimensional eye tracker. The two lasers have a common bed, which swivels between them, eliminating the need to move the patient during treatments. A study by Cummings et al, published in the Journal of Refractive Surgery in May 2017, has shown that the postoperative uncorrected visual acuity was significantly superior to preoperative corrected visual acuity in patients with myopia and myopic astigmatism.

For his current research, Dr Hughes is gathering data on topography-guided LASIK and corneal aberration treatment using the Contoura Vision system.

Community involvement & charitable work

Dr Hughes has generously performed pro bono ophthalmic work when needed.

Education & training

  • Bachelor of Science, University of New South Wales, New South Wales
  • Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery, University of New South Wales, New South Wales
  • Ophthalmology training, Guy’s Hospital and Western Ophthalmic Hospital (St Mary's Hospital), London, UK
  • Primary Fellowship, Royal College of Surgeons, London, UK
  • Diploma of Ophthalmology, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, London, UK
  • Ophthalmology Fellowship, Sydney Eye Hospital and St Vincent's Hospital, New South Wales

Personal life

A keen sportsman and former international footballer himself, Dr Hughes counts former members of many sporting codes and several high profile personalities in business and the media among his patients. His father was renowned Sydney ophthalmologist, Dr Herbert L Hughes, who received the prestigious AM (Order of Australia) for his services to ophthalmology.

Dr Hughes attributes his initial interest in ophthalmology to his father. “I was always interested in hearing my father’s stories about his patients, the surgery he performed and, later, about his interest in ultrasound. He received world acclaim for his work in ophthalmic ultrasound, which is now a routine part of ophthalmology.”
His career has evolved with the ongoing technological advancements. “The arrival of refractive surgery in 1982 opened a new door for me. The discipline evolved in Russia when Professor Federov treated a young myopic boy who fell over the handle bars of his bike smashing his glasses. The broken glass lacerated his corneas, flattening his corneas and restoring his sight. The treatment has evolved through many stages – ALK, revised RK (Casebeer), ASLA with the excimer laser, LASIK and now topographically-guided LASIK (Contoura).”

“Since day one, the happy smiles on patients’ faces are something that has driven me and sustains my enthusiasm for the surgery today.”

  • Laser refractive surgery: a guide for GPs.

    Hughes PH, Hodge C. Medicine Today 2016; 17(10): 59-62
  • Cataract: vision loss, treatment and the role of the GP in patient assessment and care.

    Hughes PH, Hodge C. Medicine Today 2016; 17(12): 43-46
  • First report of femtosecond laser cataract surgery in a nanophthalmic eye.

    Martin AI, Hughes P, Hodge C. Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2014 Jul;42(5):501-2.
  • Femtosecond laser cataract surgery: challenging cases.

    Martin AI, Hodge C, Lawless M, Roberts T, Hughes P, Sutton G. Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2014 Jan;25(1):71-80.
  • Femtosecond cataract surgery: a review of current literature and the experience from an initial installation.

    Hodge C, Bali SJ, Lawless M, Chan C, Roberts T, Ng D, Chen S, Hughes P, Sutton G. Saudi J Ophthalmol. 2012 Jan;26(1):73-8.
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IMPORTANT: If you are concerned about your eyes and require an urgent consultation, DO NOT use this form. Please call one of our clinics during office hours or contact your nearest emergency department.