James Hudson

Eye surgeon and specialist in the management of retinal detachment

James Ralph Hudson, ophthalmologist: born New Britain, Connecticut 16 February 1916; Clinical Assistant, Moorfields Eye Hospital 1947, House Surgeon 1947-49, Senior Resident Officer 1949, Chief Clinical Assistant 1950-56, Surgeon 1956-81; Ophthalmic Surgeon, West Middlesex Hospital 1953-59; Ophthalmic Surgeon, Mount Vernon Hospital 1953-59; Ophthalmic Surgeon, Guy's Hospital 1963-76; teacher of ophthalmology, Institute of Ophthalmology, London University 1961-81; Consultant Adviser in Ophthalmology, Department of Health and Social Security 1969-82; CBE 1976; married 1946 Margaret Oulpé (two sons, two daughters); died London 30 December 2003.

A most competent general eye surgeon, an expert in surgical technique rather than an innovator, and in an era when sub-specialisation within ophthalmology was still fairly new, James Hudson chose to devote most of his time to the diagnosis and management of retinal detachment. It was in this field that he made his name and reputation, numbering the Duke of Windsor among his many surgical patients. For 25 years he presided over the Retinal Unit at the High Holborn branch of Moorfields Eye Hospital in London.

Hudson was born into an English family in Connecticut in 1916, and came to England when he was 12. He was educated at the King's School, Canterbury, and the Middlesex Hospital, where he was awarded the Edmund Davis Exhibition. He qualified in 1939 and during the Second World War served as a medical officer in the RAFVR Medical Service rising to the rank of Squadron Leader. In 1947 he joined the staff of Moorfields Eye Hospital, first as a clinical assistant and later as a house surgeon; he became Senior Resident Officer and then Chief Clinical Assistant.

After holding consultant posts at the West Middlesex and Mount Vernon hospitals he was appointed Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon to Moorfields in 1956 and remained on the staff until his retirement in 1981. Between 1963 and 1976 he was also Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon to Guy's Hospital and also held consultant posts at King Edward VII Hospital for Officers and at the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth, London.

Retinal detachment is one of the more serious conditions of the eye and, if left untreated, can lead to permanent blindness. In the 1920s Jules Gonin in Lausanne found that spontaneous detachment was always associated with a hole or tear in the retina, and that successful closure of the hole allowed the retina to reattach.

But it was not until 30 years later, with the improvements in surgical and anaesthetic techniques and the advent of cryotherapy, light coagulation and lasers, that detachment operations began to achieve acceptable results. The success of surgery still relies heavily on the accurate localisation of the retinal break and this requires painstaking and often time-consuming examination of the eye. It is a skill that has to be learnt the hard way and is a difficult one to impart.

Hudson's unique and thorough methods of retinal examination and the meticulous recording of his findings set high standards for all who worked on the unit at Moorfields. The Wednesday Grand Retinal Round became one of the highlights of the week at the hospital. He taught by example and juniors quickly gained experience from him, learning also that the soft cough at the end of a case presentation meant that something was not altogether to JRH's liking.

His many non-clinical posts reflected his wide interest in national and international ophthalmology. He represented the speciality on the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and was President of the Faculty of Ophthalmologists. He was President of the Ophthalmological Society of the United Kingdom and a member of the International Council of Ophthalmology. He was an examiner both for the Diploma and Fellowship of Ophthalmology - an outwardly fierce demeanour masking his innate kindness and sympathy towards the candidates.

Throughout his hospital career and for several years after his retirement from the NHS, Hudson ran a highly successful and fashionable private practice in Wimpole Street.

He was a long-standing and greatly respected member of the Société Française d'Ophtalmologie which he joined in 1950, and he represented the United Kingdom on several European ophthalmic committees. His international appointments gave him the opportunity to extensive travel, something he greatly enjoyed, and among his many other activities one post that also afforded him much pleasure was his honorary stewardship at Westminster Abbey for over 15 years.

He was fortunate to have the support of his wife Margaret, whom he married in 1946, and they had a wide circle of friends from all walks of life. Together the Hudsons provided a source of sympathetic advice, encouragement, counselling and hospitality - extending to popular New Year's Eve parties as well as rides in the Jensen - which enriched the lives of a generation of young eye doctors, many of whom owed their careers to JRH.

Timothy ffytche

Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

(Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principle Geotechnical Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable