Prof Clement CY THAM

S.H. Ho Professor of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences

BM BCh (Oxon), FCOphthHK, FHKAM (Ophthalmology), FRCOphth, FRCS (Glasg), FCSHK

Contact :

(852) 3943 5823

Positions of Responsibility

  • Chairman, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong 
  • S.H. Ho Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong 
  • Director, CUHK Eye Centre
  • Deputy Director, Joint Shantou International Eye Center (JSIEC) of Shantou University and The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Immediate Past President, The College of Ophthalmologists of Hong Kong (COHK) 
  • Honorary Consultant in Hong Kong Eye Hospital
  • Honorary Consultant in hospitals under the New Territories East Cluster
  • Honorary Consultant of Ophthalmology Service In Hong Kong Childrens Hospital
  • Secretary General & CEO, Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology (APAO)
  • President, Asia-Pacific Glaucoma Society (APGS) 
  • Immediate Past Treasurer, International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO)
  • Academician, Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis (AOI)

Prof Clement CY THAM is the Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), S.H. Ho Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at CUHK, and the Director of CUHK Eye Centre.  Prof Tham is the Immediate Past President and Fellowship Examiner of The College of Ophthalmologists of Hong Kong, which is the statutory body in Hong Kong responsible for setting and upholding standards of ophthalmic training, Fellowship examinations, and clinical practice.  Prof Tham is the former Honorary Chiefs-of-Service in Ophthalmology at the Hong Kong Eye Hospital, the Prince of Wales Hospital, and the Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital.

Internationally, Prof Tham is the Secretary General and CEO of the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology (APAO), which is the largest supranational ophthalmic organization, comprising 36 national ophthalmic member societies and regional subspecialty member societies, in the Asia-Pacific region.  Membership of APAO member societies totals over 86,000 ophthalmologists, which is around 59% of the total number of ophthalmologists in the world.  Prof Tham is the Chair of the APAO Congress Committee, organizing every annual APAO Congresses from 2009 to now.  He was the Congress President of the 33rd APAO Congress 2018 in Hong Kong.

Prof Tham is the immediate past Treasurer of The International Council of Ophthalmology.  The ICO is the largest professional organization of ophthalmologists, with the broadest geographical coverage, in the world.  The ICO has more than 180 national, regional, and subspecialty member societies from around the world, connecting the world′s ophthalmologists, working together to preserve and restore vision.  He was appointed the Chair of the Scientific Program Committees of the World Ophthalmology Congress 2016 Guadalajara (WOC2016 Guadalajara) in Mexico, and the World Ophthalmology Congress 2018 Barcelona (WOC2018 Barcelona) in Spain.  The WOC is the primary professional educational program of the ICO, and the most important and widely attended ophthalmology conference on the international ophthalmic calendar.  More than 2,000 distinguished ophthalmologists and visual scientists from around the world participated in the scientific programs in each of these two WOCs.

Prof Tham is the President-Elect of the Asia-Pacific Glaucoma Society.  He was the Chair of the Scientific Program Committee of the Inaugural Asia-Pacific Glaucoma Congress (APGC) 2012 organized by the APGS in Bali, Indonesia, and the Congress President and the Chair of the Organizing Committee of the 2nd APGC 2014 in Hong Kong.

Prof Tham was a member of the Board of Governors of the World Glaucoma Association, and the Chair of the Organizing Committee for the World Glaucoma Congress 2015 (WGC 2015) in Hong Kong.

For his work on prevention of blindness, Prof Tham was awarded the inaugural Nakajima Award by the APAO, and the Ten Outstanding Young Persons Award in Hong Kong, in 2005.  Prof Tham received the APAO Outstanding Service in Prevention of Blindness Award in 2011, the APAO Distinguished Service Award in 2013, and the Senior Achievement Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) in 2016.  At the 28th APAO Congress 2013 Hyderabad, Prof Tham was presented the Holmes Award, the highest award for prevention of blindness in the Asia-Pacific region.  In 2015, Prof Tham received the De Ocampo Award at the APAO 2015 Congress in Guangzhou, China, the highest award for excellent academic achievements in eye research.  In the same year, Prof Tham was invited to present the Honored International Lecture at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) in San Diego, USA.  Prof Tham received the World Glaucoma Association Award (WGA) Special Recognition Award in 2021.  He was conferred an Honorary Fellowship by the Academy of Medicine of Malaysia in 2021, and by the Academy of Medicine of Singapore in 2022.  Prof Tham was recognized by Expertscape′s PubMed-based algorithms as the top 1% of scholars writing on Glaucoma in the previous 10 years, in 2022.  He was voted to become a member of ‵The Ophthalmologist Power List – Top 100 Most Influential Ophthalmologists′ in 2022.  Prof Tham has also received numerous other awards in recognition of his contributions to research and teaching in ophthalmology.

Research Areas

The primary academic interest of Prof Tham lies in angle closure glaucoma, as well as the laser and surgical treatments of glaucoma.  Prof Tham′s earlier work established a role for argon laser peripheral iridoplasty in the treatment of acute primary angle closure and other forms of angle closure glaucoma.  More recently, his randomized controlled trials provided insight into the roles of lens extraction and other glaucoma surgeries in both acute and chronic primary angle closure glaucoma eyes.  Prof Tham was a member of the research consortium that identified the first genetic mutation associated with primary angle closure glaucoma.

Co-Chair, Scientific Program Committee The 34th Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology Congress 2019 (Thailand)
Chair, Scientific Program Committee World Ophthalmology Congress 2018 (Spain)
Congress President The 33rd Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology Congress 2018 (Hong Kong)
Co-Chair, Scientific Program Committee The 32nd Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology Congress 2017 (Singapore)
Chair, Scientific Program Committee World Ophthalmology Congress 2016 (Mexico)
Vice President The 21st Congress of Chinese Ophthalmological Society 2016 (China)
Chair of Organizing Committee World Glaucoma Congress 2015 (Hong Kong)
Congress President and Chair of Organizing Committee The 2nd Asia-Pacific Glaucoma Congress 2014 (Hong Kong)
Chair of Scientific Program Committee The 28th Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology Congress 2013 (India)
Chair of Scientific Program Committee The 27th Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology Congress 2012 (South Korea)
Chair of Scientific Program Committee The Inaugural Asia-Pacific Glaucoma Congress 2012 (Indonesia)

Research Programmes

  1. Primary angle closure glaucoma (PACG) and normal tension glaucoma (NTG).
  2. The roles of lens extraction in glaucoma eyes, alone or in combination with glaucoma interventions.
  3. The clinical efficacy and safety of glaucoma interventions, including laser trabeculoplasties, laser peripheral iridotomy and iridoplasty, laser cycloablative procedures, minimally invasive glaucoma surgeries, trabeculectomy (penetrating, non-penetrating, carbon dioxide laser-assisted), goniosynechialysis (GSL), glaucoma implant surgery, and various combinations of the above.
  4. Applications of artificial intelligence (AI) and ophthalmic imaging technologies in the detection of glaucoma, glaucoma progression, and other neurodegenerative diseases.
  5. Molecular genetics, mechanisms, and epigenetics of glaucoma and myopia.

Accomplishments

  1. CUHK established argon laser peripheral iridoplasty (ALPI) as a more effective and safer first-line intervention for acute glaucoma (acute primary angle closure). Compared to conventional systemic IOP-lowering drugs that were used extensively in the past, ALPI reduces symptoms and IOP more rapidly, and avoids the side effects commonly associated with systemic drugs. ALPI may also reduce the need for long-term glaucoma medications. ALPI has since been widely adopted worldwide as the first-line treatment of acute glaucoma (acute primary angle closure).
  2. Our randomized controlled trial confirmed that early lens extraction was more effective than conventional laser peripheral iridotomy in preventing the progression to the chronic form of glaucoma (primary angle closure glaucoma) after an episode of acute glaucoma (acute primary angle closure). This finding revolutionizes the management of acute glaucoma eyes.
  3. Our randomized controlled clinical trials clearly documented the beneficial effects and safety profile of early cataract extraction in PACG, and thus establishing a role for cataract extraction as a first-line surgical approach in selected PACG eyes. CUHK has documented the clinical outcomes of cataract extraction, performed in isolation or in combination with other glaucoma surgery, in PACG eyes. Our group is widely regarded as one of the leading clinical research groups on the surgical management of PACG.
  4. We evaluated the role of clear lens extraction in uncontrolled PACG eyes. Clear lens extraction reverses the anatomical predisposition to angle closure and improves IOP control in PACG eyes. Clear lens extraction may also be combined with other interventions to further improve clinical outcomes in selected PACG eyes.
  5. CUHK is a key member of the research consortium that identified the first gene, ABCC5, associated with PACG. ABCC5 influences anterior chamber depth. A shallow anterior chamber depth is an important genetic predisposition to angle closure and PACG.
  6. Our group pioneered the applications of artificial intelligence (AI) and optical coherence tomography (OCT) technologies in the early detection of glaucoma and its progression. This opens future possibilities for cost-effective glaucoma screening.

Representative Publications 

(*corresponding author, **co-corresponding author)

          1. Tan S, Yu M, Baig N, Chan PP, Tang FY, Cheung CY, Tham CCY*. Association of Ultra-Short-Term Intraocular Pressure Fluctuation With Disease Progression in Primary Angle Closure Glaucoma: The CUPAL Study. J Glaucoma. 2022 Nov 1;31(11):874-880.
          2. Ran AR, Wang X, Chan PP, Chan NC, Yip W, Young AL, Wong MOM, Yung HW, Chang RT, Mannil SS, Tham YC, Cheng CY, Chen H, Li F, Zhang X, Heng PA, Tham CC, Cheung CY. Three-Dimensional Multi-Task Deep Learning Model to Detect Glaucomatous Optic Neuropathy and Myopic Features From Optical Coherence Tomography Scans: A Retrospective Multi-Centre Study. Front Med (Lausanne). 2022 Jun 15;9:860574.
          3. Lai ISW, Chan NCY, Ling A, Baig NB, Chan PP, Wang YM, Tham CC*. Combined Phacoemulsification-Endoscopic Cyclophotocoagulation versus Phacoemulsification Alone in Primary Angle-Closure Glaucoma: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. Ophthalmol Glaucoma. 2021 Nov-Dec;4(6):589-596.
          4. Cheung CY, Li SL, Chan PP, Chan NCY, Tan S, Man X, Tham CC*. Intraocular pressure control and visual field changes in primary angle closure disease: the CUHK PACG Longitudinal (CUPAL) study. Br J Ophthalmol. 2020 May;104(5):629-635.
          5. Ran AR, Cheung CY, Wang X, Chen H, Luo LY, Chan PP, Wong MOM, Chang RT, Mannil SS, Young AL, Yung HW, Pang CP, Heng PA, Tham CC**. Detection of glaucomatous optic neuropathy with spectral-domain optical coherence tomography: a retrospective training and validation deep-learning analysis. The Lancet Digital Health. 2019 Aug;1(4):e172-e182.
          6. Khor CC, DO T, Jia H, Nakano M, George R, Abu-Amero K, Duvesh R, Chen LJ, Pang CP, ……, Tham CC (Co-Senior Author; 223rd out of 229 authors). Genome-wide association study identifies five new susceptibility loci for primary angle closure glaucoma. Nat Genet. 2016 May;48(5):556-62.
          7. Nongpiur ME, Khor CC, Jia H, Cornes BK, Chen LJ, ……, Tham CC, Pang CP. ABCC5, a gene that influences the anterior chamber depth, is associated with primary angle closure glaucoma. PLoS Genet. 2014 Mar 6;10(3):e1004089.
          8. Tham CC*, Kwong YY, Baig N, Leung DY, Li FC, Lam DS. Phacoemulsification versus trabeculectomy in medically uncontrolled chronic angle-closure glaucoma without cataract. Ophthalmology. 2013 Jan;120(1):62-7.
          9. Vithana EN, Khor CC, Qiao C, Nongpiur ME, George R, Chen LJ, Do T, Abu-Amero K, Huang CK, Low S, Tajudin LA, Perera SA, Cheng CY, Xu L, Jia H, Ho CL, Sim KS, Wu RY, Tham CCY, ……, Pang CP, Wang N, Aung T. Genome-wide association analyses identify three new susceptibility loci for primary angle closure glaucoma. Nature Genetics. 2012 Oct;44(10):1142-1146.
          10. Tham CC*, Kwong YY, Leung DY, Lam SW, Li FC, Chiu TY, Chan JC, Lam DS, Lai JS. Phacoemulsification versus combined phacotrabeculectomy in medically uncontrolled chronic angle closure glaucoma with cataracts. Ophthalmology. 2009 Apr;116(4):725-31, 731.e1-3.
          11. Tham CC*, Kwong YY, Leung DY, Lam SW, Li FC, Chiu TY, Chan JC, Chan CH, Poon AS, Yick DW, Chi CC, Lam DS, Lai JS. Phacoemulsification versus combined phacotrabeculectomy in medically controlled chronic angle closure glaucoma with cataract. Ophthalmology. 2008 Dec;115(12):2167-2173.e2.

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