Dr Jay Meyer -Visionaries

Do you know what the most common reversible cause of blindness is in the world? The answer is cataracts!.

This week as part of our Meet the Visionaries series, we’d like to introduce you to Dr Jay Meyer, Glaucoma, Cornea & Cataract surgeon at Eye Institute. Read on to find out some exciting highlights in Dr Meyer’s career, as well as what’s currently on his bucket list!

1. What made you decide to train in your field?

As an undergraduate student, I worked at LensCrafters (the Specsavers of North America). I had the opportunity to go on a medical service trip to Peru where I was assigned the responsibility of dispensing eyeglasses because of my experience. It was extremely satisfying to provide glasses that allowed people to read, sew, or thread a fish hook. However, my satisfaction turned to unease as I discovered there were some eyes that could not be fixed with glasses. I remember one small girl, in particular. Her parents brought her in expectantly, but it was clear that glasses could not improve her vision. I didn’t have a solution for the young girl and there were no optometrists or ophthalmologists among the medical doctors in our group. This was one experience that ignited my desire to one day have the knowledge and skills to treat others who, like this girl, needed more than glasses for better vision.

2. What have been some of the highlights in your career to date?

During medical school, I worked in a microbiology laboratory. My research project allowed me to describe and name a novel species of bacteria—Mycobacterium arupense.

While working for the Fred Hollows Foundation NZ, I spent time at the Pacific Eye Institute in Fiji. I designed and administered training to improve the outcomes of cataract surgery. When I returned 6 months later, the procedures I implemented were still being followed and the outcomes had improved. While I have had opportunities to do a large amount of teaching during my career, it is rare to be able to see and measure the results of the teaching as I did on this occasion.

3. What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?

Growing up, I spent nearly all of my free time playing basketball. Unfortunately, the only thing I have to show for it now is an occasional long distance score when throwing rubbish in the “basket”.

4. What is currently on your bucket list? (that you might be in the process of ticking off or achieving)

• Hike the Tongariro Crossing. Three young children have made it difficult to get away to do this, but hopefully soon!
• Ride a train across Australia (North/South and East/West)
• Over 20 years ago, I spent a year living in Russia but have yet to return. I would like to go back one day to visit old friends and try to revive my Russian language skills.