Barrie Russell Jones was born in Silverstream, near Wellington, New Zealand, in 1921. He received his B.Sc. in chemistry and physics from Victoria College at Wellington University and his MB and BS from Dunedin’s University of Otango, before moving to the United Kingdom where he specialized in ophthalmology. He served for 17 years as a Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology at the Institute of Ophthalmology in Moorefield’s Eye Hospital in London before relinquishing the chair to set up a new Department of Preventive Opthalmology. In 1981, he established the International Center for Eye Health at the Institute of Ophthalmology, which became – under his leadership – one of the foremost institutions for the education and training of
opthalmologists from all over the world. After his retirement in 1987, he was named Professor Emeritus of Preventive Opthalomology and Director of the International Center for Eye Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Professor Jones devoted his entire professional life to studying the etiology, transmission, pathogenesis and treatment of eye diseases and infections. For 12 successive years, he spent several weeks each year in Iran to pursue his studies on trachoma. He made seminal contributions to the diagnosis, therapy and prevention of viral and chlamydial eye diseases, and developed novel chemotherapeutic measures and surgical procedures to prevent blindness due to trachoma. In later years, he turned his attention to river blindness and designed novel strategies for controlling that widely spread disease in Africa. His group was the first to show that the drug Ivermectin can reduce the incidence of blindness in onchocerciasis (a parasitic disease that involves the eye).
Professor Jones published hundreds of research papers and authored or coauthored more than 23 books, in addition to a large number of invited lectureships and conference presentations. In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the fight against blindness, he was appointed CBE by the British Queen in 1985, and was awarded the King Faisal International Prize for Medicine in 1987.
Professor Jones was awarded Gonin Medal (the highest award of the International Council of Ophthalmology) in 1990 and the Global Achievement Award of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness in 2004. Following his retirement, the British Journal of Opthalmology dedicated an entire issue to honor his work. He died in Tauranga, New Zealand, in August 2009 at the age of 88.
Professor Barrie Russell Jones, has been awarded the prize, for his works on “Prevention of Blindness”. Professor Jones is the head of the International centre for Eye Health at the Institute of Ophthalmology, London University. He is also Director of the Centre for the Prevention of Blindness and Trachoma, which is affiliated with the World Health Organization (WHO).
Since he specialized in Ophthalmology in 1955, Professor Jones has pursued research in this field investigating viruses that cause blindness, especially the microbe of Trachoma, in addition to his inventive researches aimed at diagnosis and chemotherapy – including surgery – treatment of the disease. More recently he has concentrated his work on “River Blindness”, found in the Sudan and other African countries and reached successful measures to combat it.