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Our foundations and hertitage

Joseph Hodgson, a British eye surgeon, started his campaign to open an eye hospital in Birmingham in October 1823. Six months later, in April 1824, it was known as ‘The Infirmary for the cure of diseases of the eye’. In its first year the hospital saw 1,733 patients.

In 1853 it moved to 138 Steelhouse Lane, but with outpatient demand up to 4,000 by 1862, new premises were needed and it moved again to Temple Row. Here there was room for 50 beds and the name changed to the Birmingham and Midland Eye Hospital.


In 1884 a new hospital opened on Church Street having been built at a cost of £20,000, £2 million in today’s money. In its first year it saw 15,772 patients, performed 1,200 operations and quickly gained the reputation as the finest eye hospital in the country.


The need for a larger hospital was identified in 1939, but the money raised was lost to the new National Health Service in 1948 and it was not until 1996 that the renamed Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre was opened by Prince Andrew on its present site at City Hospital.

The Church Street site is now the Hotel du Vin & Bistro.


Birmingham & Midland Eye Hospital - a Short Story - Ian De Silva & Arijit Mitra - purchase in soft-back.


The Birmingham and Midland Eye Hospital, an early history with kind permission from Mr Richard Keeler, Archivist Royal College of Ophthalmologists.

About us
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Michael Roper-Hall BMEH Influencer
Celebrating his 100th birthday in 2023.

Michael Roper-Hall, M.B, CH.B & MRCS, LRCP trained at BMEH between 1945-1947 and from 1949 -1951 (Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) 1947-1949), He held the position of Consultant Ophthalmologist at BMEH from 1951-1988.  

He was one of the pioneers of what is now an essential aid in surgery, being involved in the early development of IOLs and became a world authority on ocular trauma.

The Roper-Hall Eye Foundation CIO now supports the Roper-Hall Eye Foundation Prize Medal Competition, the centrepiece for the BMEH Alumni scientific meetings.

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Picture: Professor Gillian Roper-Hall (to the left) with her father, Mr Michael Roper-Hall at the 2019 competition

History of the BMEH Meetings

The Annual Scientific Meeting brings together a triumvirate partnership of the:

  • Roper-Hall Eye Foundation CIO (formerly the Birmingham Eye Foundation)

  • Academic Unit of Ophthalmology Alumni 

  • BMEH Alumni Association

We share an interest and passion for advancing ophthalmic research and education to best meet the growing eye health needs of the population.

The scientific meeting as we know it today was established in 2014 with an aim to present an opportunity for BMEH Alumni to come together in their residence of training annually to share new research, clinical practices and ophthalmic innovations with fellow Alumni members. ​Now a well attended yearly event that brings together Alumni, friends and colleagues of BMEH and the academic unit, past, present and future. The Annual Scientific Meeting hosts the: - BMEH Alumni Association Lecture, part of the Distinguished Lecturer Series. - Roper-Hall Prize Medal Competition. The competition started in 1993 is now an integral part of the scientific programme. - Academic Unit of Ophthalmology Alumni, Sir Adrian Cadbury Lecture. The Annual Alumni Gala Dinner provides an occasion to gather together socially and a chance to welcome new ophthalmic trainees into the Alumni fold. In 2023 we honour the hospital’s bicentennial anniversary.

See more information

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