Lives of the fellows

Peter Wright

b.7 September 1932 d.26 May 2003
MRCS LRCP(1955) MB BS Lond(1955) DO(1959) FRCS(1964) FRCOphth(1989) FRCP(1994)

Peter Wright was a consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields Hospital, London, and a former president of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. He was born in Greenwich, south London, the son of William Victor Wright, a civil servant, and Ada Amelia née Craze, a housewife. He was educated at St Clement Danes and then King’s College, London, graduating in 1955. While a medical student, he continued to study the piano and the organ, and for some time considered a musical career.

From 1955 to 1956, he held house physician and house surgeon posts at King’s. He was then a senior house officer at Guy’s Maudsley neurosurgical unit. He subsequently spent two years as an ophthalmic specialist in the RAF. In 1960 he became a lecturer in physiology and anatomy at Guy’s Hospital Medical School. From Guy’s, he was appointed to Moorfields Eye Hospital for three years training as a resident surgical officer. He became a senior registrar at King’s and, in 1966, was appointed as a consultant ophthalmic surgeon. In 1973 he added a part-time consultant post at Moorfields. In 1978 he became full-time at Moorfields and the Institute of Ophthalmology, where he was clinical sub-dean from 1980 to 1986.

At Moorfields he was responsible for the external disease service dealing with infection and inflammation in the anterior part of the eye. He researched skin and eye diseases and ocular immunity. This work led to his identification of the practolol oculocutaneous reaction and his persisting interest in adverse drug reactions.

He gave the first Charnwood memorial lecture in London in 1977, and also gave the Doyne memorial lecture (1986) and the Mauerberger memorial lecture in Cape Town in 1987.

He was the last president of the Ophthalmological Society of the United Kingdom, having succeeded Brian Harcourt, who died in post in 1987, and the second president of the College of Ophthalmologists, taking over from Wallace Foulds in 1991. During Wright’s presidency the college was granted a royal licence, becoming the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. He was president of the ophthalmic section of the Royal Society of Medicine and ophthalmic adviser to the chief medical officer.

In 1960 he married Elaine Catherine Donoghue, who became a consultant psychiatrist. They had two daughters and a son, Andrew, who was killed in the Lockerbie disaster in 1988. His marriage was dissolved in 1992. In 1993, Wright retired to Bovey Tracey in Devon, where he lived with his partner, John Morris. In Devon he renovated his house and created a lake in his garden. He was a longstanding member of the Glass Circle, maintained his interest in music, and was the regional organiser of the Devon branch of the European Piano Teachers Association. He died from complications of myeloid leukaemia.

RCP editor

[The Independent 14 July 2003; Brit.med.J.,2003 327 398; Plarr’s Lives http://livesonline.rcseng.ac.uk/biogs/E000144b.htm – accessed 7 December 2010]

(Volume XII, page web)

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