SOA Africa – 2019 Second meeting

The Second Meeting of the African Chapter of the SOA

3rd November 2019

Hosted by SASOPS and the St South African Priory of St John

Mount Grace Country House, Magaliesberg, South Africa

In 2015 the St John Ophthalmic Association (SOA) was formed, bringing together professionals from across the Priories of St John to promote the academic activities of the Order through enhanced teaching, training and research. The African Chapter of the St John Ophthalmic Association (SOA-Africa) was launched at the Lanzerac Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, South Africa on Armistice Day 2018, following the annual congress of the South African Society of Oculoplastic Surgery (SASOPS).


On the 3rd November, 2019, the second annual meeting of SOA-Africa was held in Magaliesberg, South Africa, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the South African Oculoplastics Society (SASOPS).

At the main SASOPS meeting Mr David Verity gave a talk on the history of the Order of St John and the SOA, and the manner in which the Ophthalmic Association could support the work of St John. Mr Woods, CEO of the Priory of St John in South Africa, addressed the audience with an update on the progress of the new St John Eye Hospital in Soweto, South Africa.

After the SASOPS meeting the second SOA-Africa business meeting was conducted, attended by 18 allied health professionals and doctors interested in supporting the work of St John in South Africa. Mr Verity explained the roles in which South African Ophthalmologists could support the work of the Order. Various topics were discussed including strengthening the referral pattern from St John’s Optometrists to the correct ophthalmology service as well as using web services to link South African Ophthalmologists to overseas SOA meetings. The Membership structure was also explained to those present. All present were then thanked for attending, and the meeting adjourned.

The SOA is most grateful, once again, to our colleagues and friends in the South African Society of Oculoplastic Surgery (SASOPS) for their hospitality and friendship, without which this meeting could not have taken place.

Finally, we look forward to our first SOA international business meeting at the World Ophthalmology Congress in June 2020.

Grant Ladner, MD

Chair, SOA-Africa



SOA visit to the Priory of St John in South Africa

Following the meeting, two surgeons (Mr Briscoe and Mr Verity) spent two days visiting the St John eye units in Soweto and other rehabilitative facilities in Johannesburg, seeing the remarkable work and leadership of the Priory of South Africa, often in a very challenging environment. They express their most sincere thanks to the Prior and all the Priory staff for their hospitality and inspiration.

A reflection from Mr. Daniel Briscoe, MD:

“The St John Hospital is a real inspiration to anyone who visits, whether a medical professional or not. The dedication and excellence of the staff is outstanding despite the difficult physical conditions they presently work in. Maintenance of the high profile and professional standards of this institution is priority for the management, lead by George Woods.
Support and international collaboration with St John promises to be of great benefit to all involved.”