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Biographical entry Jay, Barrie Samuel (1929 - 2007)

FRCS 1962; BA Cambridge 1949; MB BChir 1952; DO 1959; MD 1965; FCOphth 1988; Hon FRCOphth 1994; Hon FRCPCH 1996.

7 May 1929
London, UK
10 March 2007
Ophthalmic surgeon


Barrie Samuel Jay was professor of clinical ophthalmology at the Institute of Ophthalmology, University of London. He was born in London on 7 May 1929, the son of Maurice Bernard Jay, a medical practitioner, and Julia Sterling Jay, a housewife. He attended Perse School and then Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and University College Hospital, London.

He trained in ophthalmology at Moorfields Eye Hospital and the London Hospital. He was a Shepherd research scholar at the Institute of Ophthalmology from 1963 to 1964.

In 1965 he became a consultant ophthalmic surgeon to the London Hospital. Four years later, in 1969, he was also appointed to Moorfields Eye Hospital. He was dean of the Institute of Ophthalmology from 1980 to 1985 and professor of clinical ophthalmology from 1985 to 1992. In 1992 he was appointed as an emeritus professor and as an honorary consultant surgeon to Moorfields Eye Hospital, London.

Barrie Jay was much respected as a clinician and for his research work, especially in paediatrics and genetics, in both of which fields he was honoured. His scientific contributions were considerable, with a large body of peer-reviewed publications, book chapters and books.

He also showed considerable foresight in embracing information technology at an early stage, and created the first database of ophthalmic training facilities in the UK. With other far-sighted colleagues he was instrumental in setting up the Royal College of Ophthalmologists and was a senior vice-president of the college.

At the Royal College of Surgeons he was an examiner for the diploma in ophthalmology from 1970 to 1975, a member of the Court of Examiners from 1975 to 1980, and a co-opted member of the Council from 1983 to 1988.

In 2004 he was the first recipient of a lifetime achievement award, presented by the European Paediatric Ophthalmological Society.

He had many interests outside ophthalmology. His greatest passion, or obsession as he himself described it, was British postal history. He claimed that his wife said it was more important to him than his work! He wrote a standard history on the subject and over the years amassed an internationally known collection which sold at auction in the year 2000 for a considerable sum. He was president of the Royal Philatelic Society in 1998. He was also a keen gardener with a particular interest in dwarf irises. He was master of the Society of Apothecaries in 1995.

He married Marcelle Ruby Byre, a geneticist, in 1954. They had two sons, Robert Maurice, a barrister, and Stephen Mark, an accountant. Barrie Jay died on 10 March 2007, at the age of 77, after a short illness.

Enid Taylor

Sources used to compile this entry: [Moorfields - accessed 13 February 2013; European Ophthalmological Society - accessed 13 February 2013].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England