Associate Professor Wilson Heriot

About Associate Professor Heriot

Since completing his ophthalmology training at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital in East Melbourne, Associate Professor Wilson Heriot has pursued a career integrating research, education, and practice.

 

After completing his general ophthalmology training, A/Prof Heriot went to the USA looking for the best training in the diagnosis and treatment of retinal diseases. In his first two years, he joined Professor Paul Henkind in New York to explore choroidal neovascularisation and light-induced retinal damage. He then spent two years with Professor Robert Machemer, the pioneer of intraocularvitreoretinal microsurgery blending hands on surgical training with further research on retinal injury repair mechanisms.

Building on that training, A/Prof Heriot’s extensive clinical experience and cutting-edge equipment now allow him to offer a wide range of treatment options. These, combined with his widely respected communication skills, help patients and their families understand the nature of their problems and feel comfortable on the journey.

A/Prof Heriot has been involved in epidemiological population studies of diabetic retinopathy in Pacific islanders leading into his current work defining the different patterns of diabetic retinopathy severity and the key risk factors that should be addressed.

In 2005, he developed a simple outpatient procedure called pneumatic displacement for treating macula haemorrhages (a major cause of blindness in AMD) , which remains widely used around the world.

Then in 2009, A/Prof Heriot commenced a project developing a new method for repairing retinal detachments that would make the repair process more reliable, simpler and offering faster postoperative recovery. Confirmation that the method works, in principle, was published in 2016.

Based on this ground-breaking method, A/Prof Heriot was awarded a three-year congressional grant with the United States Department of Defence for US$1.5 million. This was to further the development of his innovative retinal detachment repair technique and bring it into clinical practice.

In the same year, he received the award for best-presentation submitted to the prestigious Gonin Retinal Detachment Society meeting, and at the 2017 MACULART meeting in Paris he was awarded the prize for best poster presentation for his work on the mechanism of macular hole formation and closure. This work was conducted in collaboration with Prof. Erica Fletcher at the Dept. of Anatomy, University of Melbourne.

An esteemed educator

 

In 2017 Professor Heriot was invited as a faculty member to present his work on the future of retinal detachment repair at the Duke Medical Centre Advanced Vitreous Surgery 20th anniversary meeting in Durham, North Carolina. Here, he was also a panel member discussing the optimal management of sub-macula haemorrhages.

In 2018 he will be the keynote speaker at the NSW branch meeting of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists, a speaker at the Club Jules Gonin Retinal Detachment Society meeting in July, and an invited Faculty member at the European Retina Association Meeting in Vienna.

He will present an update on his retinal detachment repair method as well as being a panel member discussing management of submacular haemorrhages.

In 2019, A/Prof Heriot will be one of only 100 retinal surgeons from around the globe invited to the prestigious Vail Vitreoretinal surgical meeting and will be the invited international keynote speaker at the British and Eyre Viteo-Retinal surgeons (BEVRS) meeting in November.

Current appointments

Professor Heriot’s current professional appointments include:

  • Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, Ophthalmology, University of Melbourne
  • Principal investigator in Vitreo-Retinal Surgery, Centre for Eye Research Australia
  • Honorary consultant retinal surgeon, Royal Women’s Hospital and Royal Children’s Hospital
  • Honorary consultant in Vitreo-Retinal Research, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, East Melbourne
  • State Chair, Macula Disease Foundation (MDF)
  • Board member, Australian and New Zealand Society of Retinal Specialists (ANZSRS)

Current research

A/Prof Heriot’s current research program includes investigating the defining characteristics of different patterns of diabetic retinopathy to optimise management for individual patients, improving management of central retinal vein occlusion (including treatment with laser-induced chorioretinal anastomosis) and the mechanism of chloroquine retinal toxicity.

Read more about Professor Wilson’s research projects and publications.