Peter Watson received International Jules Francois Golden Research Medal from the International Council of Ophthalmology in the presence of the Crown Prince of Japan at the World Congress of Ophthalmology in Tokyo in April 2014.
The Jules Francois medal is awarded every four years for work of high scientific quality. The oration was given in Brussels in November 2014 (in press EYE 2014) on recent advances in the understanding of the origins and the progression of the inflammatory response in scleral disease. It is now clear that whilst the condition may have a common origin its manifestations follow a different course, one of which is potentially blinding, depending on the health and susceptibility of the individual patient.
A new imaging technique has shown for the first time that the inflammatory process in scleritis involves the whole of the tissue and may even become manifest first underneath the sclera. As a result of these major advances the appropriate sight saving treatment can now be started as soon as the disease appears.
En-face Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT)in a patient with severe sight threatening necrotizing scleritis. Top left the surface appearance. Sections through the sclera which shows that the inflammation extends to the deep surface. Below cross sectional appearance on OCT
Peter Watson was a consultant ophthalmologist in the department of ophthalmology of Addenbrooke's and consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital from 1965-1995. He was then appointed as Boerhaave Professor University of Leiden in The Netherlands until 2005.
He instituted and organized both the Cambridge Ophthalmological Symposium, now in its 45th year and the International Council of Ophthalmology's International Assessment and Examinations which now attract 1500 candidates a year from 75 countries. He was Senior Vice President of the Royal College of Ophthalmology and Editor of EYE, its scientific journal. He was made Fellow Honoris Causi by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, and has been given the honor and achievement awards from the American Academy of Ophthalmology. He has given several named lectures and has been the recipient of the Doyne Memorial Medal of the Oxford Congress, the Krwawicz Gold Medal of the Polish Ophthalmological Society Society, the Jose Rizal International Medal of the Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology and the Duke Elder International Gold Medal of the International Council of Ophthalmology.
His research interests have been multiple and varied. Apart from establishing the clinical course the pathology and treatment of scleral disease and its complications, they have included the first description of the metabolic pathways which entered the Krebs cycle in 1954, the first use of pulsed steroids in the treatment of uveitis, the characterisation of Mooren's ulcers, the investigation of corneal transplant rejection, and its extension into organ transplantation in the eye. He also introduced the CAM stimulator for the treatment of amblyopia and as a hobby investigated the cause of Galileo Galilei's blindness.. In 1966, with his colleague John Cairns, they initiated and developed in Cambridge what is still the most widely used operation for open angle glaucoma, trabeculectomy.