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Bertil Eric Damato, MD, PhD, FRCOphth is Senior Clinical Research Fellow at the University of Oxford and Honorary Consultant Ophthalmologist at Oxford Eye Hospital, appointed in September 2018. He received his undergraduate training in Malta, where he was born, and his postgraduate training in Glasgow, specialising in ophthalmology and ocular oncology at the Tennent Institute of Ophthalmology, Western Infirmary. Mr. Damato founded the ocular oncology service at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital in 1993 and directed this service until 2013, by which time it gained international recognition as a centre of excellence. He was then invited to renovate the ocular oncology service at the University of California San Francisco, which he directed until 2018 when he returned to the UK. He has recently founded the Ocular Oncology Service at Oxford Eye Hospital and the Eye Cancer Research Fund at the University of Oxford.

Bertil Damato is a member of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, the European Ophthalmic Oncology Group, the European Vision and Eye Research organisation, and the International Society of Ocular Oncology with previous memberships of the American Ophthalmological Society, Macula Society, American Association of Ophthalmology and the Academia Ophthalmological Internationalis. He has served as Founding Secretary then President of the European Ophthalmic Oncology Group; President of the European Vision and Eye Research Association; and Vice-President then President of the International Society of Ocular Oncology.

He has been recipient of the Begley Prize, Royal College of Surgeons of England (1977); Mary Hawthorne Prize, University of Glasgow (1983); Bjerrum Medal, Danish Ophthalmological Society (2006); Cohen Gold Medal, University of Witwatersand, South Africa (2008); Platinum Award, Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards, National Health Service, UK (2009); Ashton Medal, Royal College of Ophthalmologists, UK (2012); Watson Medal, Cambridge Ophthalmological Symposium (2012); and the Rhett Buckler Award, American Society of Retinal Specialists (2016).

He is an Honorary Fellow of the Ophthalmological Society of Alberta (1994) and Honorary Fellow of the College of Optometrists, UK (2010).

He is married to Frankanne and has two children, Erika and Stephen, both doctors. His hobbies include sailing, cycling and collecting antique ophthalmic textbooks. 

Bertil Damato


Senior Clinical Research Fellow, University of Oxford

  • Consultant Ocular Oncologist, Moorfields Eye Hospital
  • Professor Emeritus, University of California San Francisco
  • Honorary Consultant Ophthalmologist, Royal Liverpool University Hospital


  • 1984: Invention of oculo-kinetic perimetry (OKP), a visual field test using multiple fixation targets to enable self-examination with a disposable chart. 
  • 1998: Development of novel surgical techniques for trans-retinal 'endoresection' of choroidal melanomas with a vitreous cutter.
  • 1989: Development of a visual field test for children, consisting of a computer game whereby the examinee drives a car along a winding road and sounds the horn whenever a pedestrian appears - in collaboration with the Department of Clinical Engineering, University of Glasgow.
  • 1989-2013: Development of several novel surgical techniques to refine surgical removal of choroidal melanomas from under the retina and through a window in the wall of the eye.
  • 1999: First to provide genetic typing of uveal melanomas as a routine clinical service to patients, in collaboration with Dept of Genetics, University of Liverpool; now practised widely. 
  • 2003: First to develop and provide an interactive automated visual field test on the internet, in collaboration with Mr. Carl Groenewald, Consultant Ophthalmologist, Royal LIverpool University Hospital. 
  • 2004: Development of the EORTC-QLQ-OPt30, a novel instrument for measuring patient-reported outcomes (i.e., ocular discomfort, visual difficulties, fears and concerns) in ocular oncology, in collaboration with the European Ophthalmic Oncology Group.
  • 2005: First in proton beam radiotherapy of iris melanoma, in collaboration with Clatterbridge Cancer Centre; now widely practised. 
  • 2007: First to develop an interactive online prognostic tool for multivariable estimation of survival after treatment of choroidal melanoma, taking account of the patient's age and sex, greatly enhancing reliability - in collaboration with Dept of Clinical Engineering, Royal Liverpool University Hospital.
  • 2008: Development of a grading system for conjunctival melanocytic intra-epithelial neoplasia, reducing subjectivity - in collaboration with Professor Sarah E. Coupland, University of Liverpool.
  • 2009: First to deploy multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification for genetic typing of uveal melanoma, developing algorithms of interpreting test data, in collaboration with Professor Sarah Coupland, University of Liverpool. 
  • 2012: Development of novel surgical techniques and equipment for accurate insertion of radioactive plaques, enhancing local control of choroidal melanomas while minimising collateral damage to healthy ocular tissues. 
  • 2014: First to formulate concept of 'toxic tumour syndrome' after radiotherapy of uveal melanoma and to treat this condition by surgical removal or laser ablation of the offending tumour.
  • 2015: First to perform trans-palpebral proton beam radiotherapy of uveal melanoma, thereby preventing ocular morbidity from keratinization of the superior palpebral conjunctiva, in collaboration with Clatterbridge Cancer Centre.
  • 2016: Development of virtual-reality oculokinetic perimetry to provide rapid and ergonomic 'hands-free' visual field examination using a smartphone or virtual reality headgear - in collaboration with University of California San Francisco and Vivid Vision, San Francisco. 
  • 2017: Development of therapeutic vitrectomy for vitreoretinal lymphoma, in collaboration with Dr. Armin Afshar and colleagues at the University of California San Francisco.
  • 2018: Development of novel methods for documenting individual tumours in eyes with retinoblastoma.
  • 2018: Development of 'MOLES', a simple algorithm to distinguish benign naevi ('moles') from malignant melanomas at the back of the eye.