Who is the Department of Ophthalmology?

Description: Ophthalmology Keywords: eyesThe eye is the window of the human body through which it feels its way and enjoys the beauty of the world. Owing to the eye the soul is content to stay in its bodily prison, for without it such bodily prison is torture; - Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)



The University of the Free State (UFS) Department of Division of Ophthalmology was formed in the Department of General Surgery In 1970 with Dr Gordon Trichardt as the first part-time Head of the Department. Dr Francois Potgieter was appointed as the first full-time Head in 1975. The Department of Ophthalmology became an independent department in 1976. Dr Potgieter was promoted to Professor in 1978 and in the next year, Dr Johan Benade was the first Registrar to obtain his MMed degree. Professor Andries Stulting was appointed Professor and Head of the Department in 1982, after Prof Potgieter entered private practice in 1980. Prof Stulting is the current Head of the Department of Ophthalmology.


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Main building

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White Block

Description: Ophthalmology Keywords: Awards
Honours and Awards

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Outreach programmes

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Outreach programmes


National outreach

The Department of Ophthalmology has three satellite units;

  • one in QwaQwa at Monapo Hospital,
  • one in Kroonstad at Boitomelo Hospital, and 
  • one in Welkom at Bongani Hospital.

There is a medical officer working in each of the units, rendering a service to the community in that area. Each unit is responsible for a primary eye care service and is expected to do approximately 500 cataract operations per year. This goes a long way in addressing the cataract backlog in the Free State and South Africa. The Department is helping the Bureau for the Prevention of Blindness with cataract surgery tours in the Free State and sometimes even in other provinces.
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International outreach

Since 2001, the Department of Ophthalmology has been involved in an annual outreach to Vila Ulongue in Mozambique, with Dr Johan Eloff (Private Ophthalmologist, Pasteur Hospital, Bloemfontein) and Dr Mathys Labuschagne (Consultant Ophthalmologist, Department Ophthalmology, UFS). The aim of the outreach is to do screening clinics and cataract surgery in the northern part of Mozambique, where there is a great need and no ophthalmological service.  

There is a good working relationship with the Department of Ophthalmology in Lesotho and we see a lot of the problem cases and posterior segment work. In 2007 the Department helped with the training of doctors in the use of Laser and Prof Stulting traveled around rural Lesotho on a cataract tour. Seven doctors of the Department of Ophthalmology rendered a service at the Maluti Seventh Day Adventist Hospital in Lesotho for six weeks in 2007.

Photographs of Mozambique outreach

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Blind patient being lead by relative
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Eye surgery in Vila Ulongue
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Post operative examinations


Central Information Office
T: +27 51 401 3739
F: +27 86 579 5154

E: StudentAdminFHS@ufs.ac.za

Student Administration
Faculty Administration

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