Guangzhou, home to the Baiyun Mountain and the Pearl River, is the cradle of the ancient “maritime silk road”. As the third largest city in China, Guangzhou, in which the second largest international air hub and convenient public infrastructure are located, is a modernized metropolis developing at a tremendous speed. The renowned Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center of Sun Yat-sen University is situated in this beautiful city.
The history of Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center can date back to 1835 when Dr. Peter Parker, an American missionary founded the first western-style clinic named “ophthalmology clinic” in China. In 1953, Zhongshan School of Medicine merged with School of Medicine at Lingnan University into South China School of Medicine, and Department of Ophthalmology of these two medicine schools were also combined as Ophthalmic Teaching Group of South China School of Medicine. In 1954, Department of Ophthalmology of Guanghua School of Medicine was also included into Ophthalmic Teaching Group of the South China School of Medicine. In 1956, South China School of Medicine changed its name to Guangzhou School of Medicine and Ophthalmic Teaching Group followed this trend to become Ophthalmic Teaching Group of Guangzhou School of Medicine. In 1957, Ophthalmic Teaching Group further changed its title to Ophthalmic Teaching Group of Zhongshan School of Medicine. Based on Ophthalmic Teaching Group of Zhongshan School of Medicine, in October 1965, Professor Chen Yaozhen (Eugene Chan) and Professor Mao Wenshu (Winifred Mao) established Zhongshan Ophthalmic Hospital, the first affiliated hospital of tertiary schools specialized in ophthalmology in China. In June 1983, Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center of Zhongshan School of Medicine was founded, covering a scope of Ophthalmic Hospital, Ophthalmic Research Institution and the Office of Preventive Ophthalmology. Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center of Zhongshan School of Medicine is the first modernized multifunctional ophthalmic center combining medical care, teaching, and research with preventive ophthalmology. In 1985, Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center of Zhongshan School of Medicine altered to become Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center of Zhongshan University of Medicine. In 1997, the Department of Optometry at Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center of Zhongshan University of Medicine was founded, indicating that Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center further improved itself as a center including research institutions, hospitals, administrative offices and teaching departments. In October 2001, Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center finally changed to Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center of Sun Yat-sen University as Sun Yat-sen University merged with Zhongshan University of Medicine.
The past 50 years have witnessed a huge success in Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center. Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center has enjoyed worldwide fame due to its good performance and professional skills of the faculty, the advanced facilities and high R&D capability. The Center ranked first for seven consecutive years in the Ophthalmology part of Specialized Department List for Chinese Hospitals. Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center also possesses the only State Key Laboratory for Ophthalmology in China. Ophthalmic Hospital from Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center is the first 3-A-Class ophthalmic hospital in China and is regarded as the “the most popular ophthalmic hospital in China” for five consecutive years in 39 Healthcare List.
Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center maintains a steady growth. The Center covers an area of over 8,900 square meters together with a floor area of 35,000 square meters and 320 beds for patients. In 2016, the number of outpatient amounted to 1,010,000 while the number of inpatient totaled 41,704, the number of cases of operations exceeds 60,000 and the Average Length of Stay (ALOS) is 1.9 days. The Center has established several subspecialties covering cataract, glaucoma, corneal diseases, ocular fundus diseases, eye tumor and orbital diseases, oculoplasty, ocular trauma, LASIK, strabismus and amblyopia, ametropia, neuro-ophthalmology, maculopathy, uveitis, hereditary ocular disease, conjunctivitis and xeroma, and preventive ophthalmology, among which the departments of corneal diseases, glaucoma and cataract are the key subspecialties in Guangdong. The Center is also a leading figure in China in the field of corneal disease and ocular surface disease (OSD), cataract, glaucoma, the diagnosis and operation of uveitis and vitreoretinal diseases, LASIK, morphology of cornea and research on the pathogenesis of uveitis. Some of the research fields have become advanced worldwide.
Teaching and Training
Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center earns a reputation for teaching. The ophthalmology of the Center is one of the first fields accepted as national key discipline in China, and one of the earliest to award master’s and doctorate degrees in ophthalmology. The Center also serves as a national base for continuing education and a center for standardized training for resident doctors. In 2008, Ophthalmic Hospital of the Center, the only specialized ophthalmic hospital of all, was recognized as pilot hospital for specialized doctors, with one course offered by the Center awarded at the provincial level. The Center now has 83 supervisors for postgraduate students, seven experts recruited from Thousand Talents Program and three Recipients of National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars. In 2013, the faculty got the third-rank prize in the Teaching Competition for Young Teachers in Chinese and the second-rank prize in English. As for clinical training, 227 students are studying in the Center, with PhD students, master students and students from a continuous program from master to PhD accounting for 123, 104 and 11 respectively.
Research and Studies
The year 1982 witnessed the establishment of Ophthalmic Research Institution of Zhongshan School of Medicine as the first ophthalmic research institution founded at medical schools at tertiary level. In 1991, Ophthalmology Laboratory, Ministry of National Health was set up. In 2006, the establishment of State Key Laboratory for Ophthalmology was approved by Ministry of Science and Technology and up till now, Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center is still the only place in China which possesses such an important laboratory. Since 1978, the Center has received 11 national prizes, of which six are second-rank awards and four are third-rank awards. Two of our projects are also included in the first-rank research project in the 973 Program. The Center also receives various grants, for instance one grant from Science Fund for Creative Research Groups of the National Natural Science Foundation of China, five grants from National Science Foundation for Distinguished Young Scholars, five grants from 863 Program, two from National Key Technologies R&D Program of China in the Tenth Five-Year Plan, two from Key Technologies R&D Program of China in the Eleventh Five-Year Plan and two from State Key Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China.
As early as the 1950s, medical teams from the Center have been sent to the rural areas to carry out disease prevention and control. This work became particularly important after 1983 when Office of Preventive Ophthalmology was set up. The medical teams have been expanded from 2-3 staff to 30-40 members now. The facilities of the medical teams have been upgraded from unsophisticated tools to advanced equipment. Office of Preventive Ophthalmology works closely with international organizations such as the World Health Organization and Helen Keller Fund to innovate medical systems for helping underprivileged people. The medical teams have conducted research on diseases prevention and control, epidemiology of ocular diseases and carried out training programs for rural ophthalmic doctors in many cities and rural villages in Guangdong. We have transformed our model from eliminating poverty by medical services to eliminating poverty by medical improvement, achieved considerable social progress and received positive feedback.
Faculty and Staff
The Party and government leaders of Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center insist on putting people first, and respecting knowledge and talents. By cultivating local talents and recruiting foreign experts, Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center has formed a good academic and humanistic environment. Under the guidance of senior experts with both medical ethics and expertise, many young and middle-aged scholars in their prime stand out. Professor Chen Yaozhen (Eugene Chan) and Professor Mao Wenshu (Winifred Mao), the founders of the Center, are both National First-class Professors. Professor Li Shaozhen is the first ophthalmic expert entitled the Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center now employs more than 200 ophthalmologists, of whom over 130 are with senior titles. In recent years, the Center has been recruiting distinguished talents worldwide while further fostering leading talents among youngsters. The Center owns one foreign member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, five National Second-class Professors, two Chief Scientists of the 973 Program, two winners of the National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars, four scholars of the Thousand Talents Program conducted by the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee, three young scholars of the Thousand Talents Program, and 14 experts receiving special government allowances from the State Council. Scholars from home and abroad constitute the Center’s international team of leading talents.
Exchanges and Cooperation
Leaders of the Center lay emphasis on the open and pragmatic tradition and actively participate in international academic events. In September 1982, at the invitation of Prof. Chen Yaozhen and Prof. Mao Wenshu, the flying eye hospital of Orbis International came to China for the first time. During their 18-day stay in Guangzhou, Orbis International experts offered live demonstration of ophthalmic surgery, delivered special academic reports and held medical consultations. In 1985, Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center sponsored the first International Ophthalmologic Congress in China. Later, it organized the 28th International Symposium for Clinical Electrophysiology of Vision, the first Asia-Pacific Conference on Vision Science, the first Asian Cataract Research Conference, the 12th Afro-Asian Congress of Ophthalmology, the 9th International Conference on Myopia, the first International Lecture on Ophthalmic Microsurgery, the first International Uveitis Symposium, the 18thInternational Congress of Eye Research, the 7th Congress of the Asia Pacific Glaucoma Society, and the International Forum for Vitreoretinal Diseases, etc. In June 2012, our Center co-organized with the Orbis International the 30th Anniversary celebrating the first flight of its flying eye hospital to China, and we signed a long-term cooperative program. In January 2013, the Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology (APAO) decided that it would set its permanent headquarter in State Key Laboratory for Ophthalmology in our hospital in Zhujiang New Town in 2015. The APAO is the first international medical academy to set up its headquarter in China, making it a platform and landmark for the globalization of Chinese Ophthalmology. The 2014 Nature Magazine Chinese Forum, also the first high-level academic forum organized by Nature and Chinese institutions, was held in Guangzhou. So was the 2015 Congress of the Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology. Besides, the Center also sponsored the activity of “Grand Rounds Around the World”. Our Center has established new relations and maintained friendly cooperation with the WHO, Johns Hopkins University and NIH/NEI, and conducted multiple bilateral academic exchanges, improving the international status of Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center.
Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center has won many honorary titles, such as Provincial Civilized Unit in 1995, Top 100 Hospitals in Guangdong in 1998; Advanced Institutions of National Health System and Bethune-type Advanced Group in 1999; Advanced Institutions of Provincial Professional Ethos Construction in 2002; Provincial Advanced Group and Provincial Civilized Unit of Services in 2003; Volunteer Service Golden Awards in 2007; Advanced Party Branch in Mutual Assistance between Urban and Rural Grassroots Party Organizations in 2009; Provincial Working Pioneer and Provincial Advanced Unit of Excellent Nursing Services in 2011; National Advanced Unit of “Strive for the Best” Activities in the National Health Care System and National Working Pioneer in 2012; Home of Model Workers in the National Educational, Scientific and Cultural System in 2013.
For fifty years, Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center has taken on arduous tasks, carried forward our predecessors’ legacy and opened up new vistas in ophthalmology. Despite our past success, we are still working on to become a leading ophthalmic center across the world.