Peter James Barry FRCS has died unexpectedly at the age of 67 after a brief illness. He was one of the foremost eye surgeons, both of his generation, as well as within the UK. In addition to being an international ambassador for Irish ophthalmology, he was also the national clinical lead for ophthalmology, where he was able to lead extensive reforms within hospital and local delivery of eye care.
From the early 1980’s, Barry was responsible for pioneering major advances in surgery for Irish and European ophthalmology, specifically in the areas of modern cataract surgery and primary vitrectomy for retinal detachment repair.
As co-founder and president of the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ESCRS), his international impact was undeniable and far reaching. He helped millions of patients with his works, not only through his incredibly high success rate as a surgeon, but through the methods and techniques that he helped develop that are now used by ophthalmic surgeons around the world.
The benefit of prophylactic antibiotics was first proven by an international clinical trial that he chaired. Because of this study, the results of which have been accepted and adopted around the globe, the standards for post-operative care have risen, and infection rates have plummeted.
Born in Dublin and educated at Gonzaga College, Barry was a natural fit in the academic community. His career in medicine began at the UCD medical school, eventually leading to clinical training in ophthalmology at the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital in Dublin. A majority of his clinical residency was completed at Moorfields Eye Hospital, London.
He would undoubtedly consider his greatest achievement in his life to be his family, His wife Carmel and four adult children, David, Stephen, Simon and Lisa.