History of the Lowe & Gillies Lecture

The Ronald Lowe Medal

 RONALD FRANCIS LOWE (1913-1998) had a fascinating and rewarding career extending through pharmacy, medicine, the army, ophthalmology, tourism, administration and medical history.
From secondary schooling at Wesley College he proceeded to pharmacy (DrPh C. 1934) and then to Medicine (M.B., B.S., 1939), a year at the Alfred Hospital and then the army (1941-1946), with the rank
of Captain – Major and saw service in the New Guinea and Darwin. He was seconded as R.M.O. to the then Eye and Ear Hospital before proceeding to London, Moorfields Hospital and the Institute
of Ophthalmology as Tutor-Registrar. While there, he gained the first F.R.C.S. in Ophthalmology.
Returning to Melbourne his long and illustrious career at the (later Royal) Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital began clinically, culminating as Emeritus Ophthalmic Surgeon in 1973.
In 1963 he became the second director of the Glaucoma Research Unit at the hospital (1963-1975).
This was the first special ophthalmic unit formed at the hospital in 1957 and the first Glaucoma Research Unit in Australia. He was on many committees at the hospital including the Board of
Management from 1955-1973. At various times he was Chairman of the Medical Staff, Dean of the Clinical School and was greatly involved with the Orthoptic Clinic and Orthoptic Board of Australia.
Most important was the Library Committee resulting in its very significant development to form the “Ronald Lowe Library”, a conjoint affair of the RVEEH and the Royal Australian and New Zealand
College of Ophthalmologists.
Ron was an enthusiastic teacher and clinical researcher, especially on angle closure glaucoma; this led to landmark publications. In 1966 he gained his MD. Ron was awarded the Gordon Craig Travelling
Fellowship from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and was awarded the Shorney prize for research in ophthalmology on 2 occasions.
He passed his FRACS in 1947 and served on several College committees, including the Court of Examiners. Similarly he was involved with the Ophthalmological Society of Australia, the Ophthalmic
Research Institute of Australia, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists and the Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology, becoming an Office Bearer and President of most
at various times.
He was a strong supporter of Ophthalmology throughout the Asia Pacific Region. A member of several ophthalmic societies he authored over 150 publications and books, and pamphlets
for patients.
Later Ron became interested in medical history, especially that of the RVEEH. In 1989 he became a foundation Fellow of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (FRCOphth).
Ron enjoyed photography and gardening. A particular interest in Liliums led to several papers and at one stage President of the Lilium Society. Ron was a friendly, stimulating, knowledgeable man who
greatly encouraged his juniors.