3 November 2022

Professor Roger Buckley BM BCh MA PhD FRCS HonFRCOphth HonFCOptom: 1945-2022

We are deeply saddened to report the recent death of ophthalmologist Professor Roger Buckley HonFCOptom.

Roger Buckley was an ophthalmologist who took a particular interest in improving relations between ophthalmology and optometry. After completing his undergraduate medical training at the University of Oxford and St Thomas’ Hospital London, he commenced his first clinical appointment as a House Surgeon to the Eye Department at St Thomas' Hospital in 1970, before moving to Moorfields Eye Hospital three years later. Progressing to the position of Registrar in 1975, and then Consultant from 1981 until his retirement in 2004, he was also an honorary lecturer at the Institute of Ophthalmology and carried out pioneering research on specular imaging of the corneal endothelium alongside his clinical workload. Roger served as Director of the Contact Lens and Prosthesis department at Moorfields, becoming one of the first to introduce optometrists to his clinics. He then took on an additional academic role from 1997, as Bausch & Lomb Professor of Ocular Medicine at City University, the first ever professorial chair of its type to reside within an optometry department. Here, Roger combined teaching optometry students and research with his clinical work at Moorfields. Eight years later he was able to transfer his Chair to what was then called Anglia Polytechnic University, whilst continuing to serve the NHS in an honorary capacity at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, until 2014. Latterly, he had also been appointed an Honorary Visiting Professor at City University.

Roger was interested in matters of allergic eye disease, publishing extensively in that area, as well as sterilisation and infection control, most notably in the wake of the vCJD crisis in 1999 which disrupted many optometric working practices particularly with regard to reusable lenses in contact lens fitting. Over his career he published more than 90 refereed papers and 16 book chapters. Roger was President of the British Contact Lens Association from 2003-04 and served twenty years on the General Optical Council for which he was also founding Chairman of the Standards Committee. 

Roger played a leading role in developing the Clinical Management Guidelines (CMGs) during the early 2000s. The topic of independent prescribing rights had long interested him, for example he co-presented a paper on ocular therapeutics at the College’s very first ‘Optometry Tomorrow’ conference in 2004. Roger went on to create the CMGs in their current format, after the College took over the intellectual property pertaining to them in 2007, in the lead up to IP legislation for optometrists the following year. The CMGs proved to be an essential factor in the necessary changes to the Human Medicines Regulations. Since then, he worked tirelessly for the College to keep the CMGs relevant, accurate and up-to-date, continuing this work until summer 2022. He was made an Honorary Fellow of The College of Optometrists in 2002 and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists in 2021.