Meet the visionaries. -Dr William Cunningham

Do you know what the most common reversible cause of blindness is in the world? The answer is cataracts1.

Cataract & Retinal Surgeon

This week we would like to introduce you to Dr William Cunningham who is a Cataract and Retinal Surgeon at Eye Institute. Read on below to find out more about Dr Cunningham as part of our Meet the Visionaries series.

1. What do you love the most about what you do?

The ability to help people with a wide variety of eye conditions from all walks of life. I not only work at Eye Institute but also for the Auckland District Health Board and I also partake in pro-bono work across the Pacific Islands. I feel very fortunate to be in a position where I can make a difference to people’s lives so positively. As a retinal surgeon, I also enjoy being able to operate on all parts of the eye (front to back) which is something not all of my colleagues are lucky enough to experience.

2. Tell us something that most people don’t know about you?

I wanted to be an All Black! My youth, like many other Kiwi kids I suppose, was spent playing a lot of footy, representing North Harbour, Ponsonby Rugby Club and Auckland up until the age of 20. It was around that time I was exposed to ophthalmology at medical school and had a change of heart. I knew that becoming an eye surgeon was for me! I never liked that rugby players were, at least in my day, often stereotyped as “all brawn, no brains”, so from a very young age I set out to try and dispel that myth (yes, it is a myth!).

Can you give us some examples?

I was awarded a boarding scholarship to attend Mt Albert Grammar School which provided me with an excellent secondary education. I was then awarded the top prize in ophthalmology and the top prize in surgery at medical school. More recently I have been active in ophthalmology research and publications.

I have my parents to thank for instilling a strong work ethic in myself and my sister from a young age. My Dad was a bricklayer from the UK and my mum a legal secretary whose parents were from Samoa, so they always emphasised the importance of education. This is something that I will, no doubt, pass on to my own children.

Oh, another random fact is that I’m left handed but do a lot of stuff right handed, including cataract surgery as when I was training I was taught by right handed surgeons!

3. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I really enjoy quality time with my wife Hayley and my son Joshua who has just turned four. Josh is a lot of fun at this age and I’m not at all pressuring him to take up rugby (wink, wink) hahaha!

I come from a very musical family and I still enjoy playing the guitar and drums whenever possible. I am currently on the lookout for an electric drum kit so I can teach my son how to play without disturbing the neighbours too much.

4. We already know that you’re passionate about giving back in the community, tell us a little more?

I am current NZ Chair of the RANZCO Maori and Pasifika committee, a group of New Zealand eye surgeons working to address some of the poor ophthalmic health outcomes, such a diabetic retinopathy, keratoconus and cataract (to name a few), impacting those people indigenous to Aotearoa and the Pacific.

This is a very large task that will involve a huge effort over time, but it is something I feel very passionately about, especially given I am one of just a handful of Ophthalmologists in New Zealand with Maori or Pacific heritage.

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We understand that any issue with your eyes can be a weight on your shoulders. Book an appointment today, and we’ll help you get to the bottom of your issue and put your mind at ease.

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Dr William Cunningham

Dr Cunningham is a consultant ophthalmologist who specialises in cataract surgery and vitreoretinal surgery.

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Dr Jay Meyer

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Dr Graham Reeves

Dr Reeves has advanced training in the diagnosis and management of glaucoma. He offers a variety of laser and surgical treatments, including minimally invasive glaucoma surgery.

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Dr Divya Perumal

Dr Perumal is a New Zealand trained ophthalmologist with advanced training in glaucoma and cataract surgery.

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Dr Narme Deva

Dr Narme Deva is a key opinion leader for Medical retina and Uveitis in New Zealand.
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Dr Peter Ring

Dr Ring is an expert in cornea, cataract and refractive surgery.
LEARN MORE

Dr Shanu Subbiah

Dr Subbiah is a cataract, corneal and laser surgery specialist.
LEARN MORE

Dr Adam Watson

Dr Watson specialises in treating many aspects of the eye, including the face, eyelids, tear drainage system and the cornea.
LEARN MORE

Prof Helen Danesh-Meyer

Professor Danesh-Meyer is an international authority on glaucoma and neuro-ophthalmology and one of the most highly regarded experts in her field.
LEARN MORE

Prof Charles McGhee

Professor Charles McGhee, a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon for 25 years, specialises in corneal diseases and cataract surgery.
LEARN MORE

Dr William Cunningham

Dr Cunningham is a consultant ophthalmologist who specialises in cataract surgery and vitreoretinal surgery.
LEARN MORE

Dr Peter Hadden

Dr Hadden specialises in vitreoretinal and cataract surgery, including the treatment of intraocular tumours.
LEARN MORE

Dr Liz Insull

Dr Elizabeth Insull is a New Zealand and UK trained Oculoplastic and Ophthalmic surgeon.
LEARN MORE

Dr Kaliopy Matheos

Dr Matheos is an ophthalmologist with subspecialist training in glaucoma and anterior segment surgery, cataract surgery and pterygium surgery.
LEARN MORE

Dr John Beaumont

Dr Beaumont is a general ophthalmologist. He specialises in surgical ophthalmology, medical ophthalmology and urgent eye trauma care
LEARN MORE

Dr Jay Meyer

Dr. Meyer is a specialist eye surgeon specialising in cataracts, glaucoma, and corneal diseases and surgeries.
LEARN MORE

Dr Graham Reeves

Dr Reeves has advanced training in the diagnosis and management of glaucoma. He offers a variety of laser and surgical treatments, including minimally invasive glaucoma surgery.
LEARN MORE

Dr Divya Perumal

Dr Perumal is a New Zealand trained ophthalmologist with advanced training in glaucoma and cataract surgery.
LEARN MORE

Dr Nick Mantell

Dr Mantell is a specialist in refractive and cataract surgery. He has restored the vision of thousands of people in his 17-year career.
LEARN MORE

Dr Sophie Hill

Dr Hill completed her MBBS at St Georges University of London in 2008, also obtaining an Intercalated BSc from King’s College University, London.
LEARN MORE

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