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Biographical entry Wybar, Kenneth Cullen (1921 - 1992)

MRCS and FRCS 1950; BSc Glasgow 1941; MB ChB 1944; ChM 1955; MD 1956; DOMS 1949.

2 March 1921
2 May 1992


Kenneth Wybar was a man whose extraordinary energy and tireless capacity for work (he was known as the 'Flying Scot'!) soon brought him to the forefront in ophthalmology, but was a little apt to put his colleagues to shame! He was born on 2 March 1921 in Glasgow, where his father was an actuary, and his mother was Jenny, née Cullen. He was educated at the Glasgow Academy, Glasgow University and at the Western Infirmary in that city.

After qualifying in 1944 and completing his house jobs he did his National Service in the Royal Navy. He had however already chosen his specialty and in 1948 went to Moorfields Eye Hospital as a resident surgical officer. Having passed the FRCS in 1950 he returned to Glasgow as a senior registrar in ophthalmology but stayed there only two years. Back in London he joined the pathology department of the Institute of Ophthalmology and in 1956 was appointed consultant surgeon to Moorfields aand director of the orthoptic clinic. Not content with just one specialist postgraduate hospital he took on two more. He was elected ophthalmic surgeon to the Royal Marsden Hospital in 1959 and to the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, in 1963. This last appointment gave him the opportunity to develop his special interest in the management of squints and congenital cataract.

In addition to his busy hospital and private practice he was civil consultant to the Royal Navy, examiner for the Royal College of Surgeons and a prolific author. He co-authored editions of Lyle and Jackson's Textbook of practical orthoptics, wrote almost all the volumes on anatomy and on ocular motility in Duke-Elder's System of ophthalmology and produced his own Concise textbook of ophthalmology in addition to many papers in the journals. He became President of the Section of Ophthalmology at the Royal Society of Medicine, Vice-President of the Ophthalmological Society of the United Kingdom and a founder member of the International Strabismological Association.

In 1947 he married Jean Louise Buchanan MD, by whom he had two sons, Michael and David, and two daughters, Hilary and Susan (who became a nurse). They had a delightful house in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, to which he endeavoured to get away at weekends and to which he retired, perfecting his golfing skills on the local course. He retired from his hospitals in 1983 and died on 2 May 1992.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times 16 May 1992, with portrait; Daily Telegraph 11 May 1992].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England