Obituary: Dr Paul Spry

Colleagues have described the “warmth and wisdom” of the head of optometry for Bristol Eye Hospital following his death in August


Colleagues have paid tribute to Dr Paul Spry, the late head of optometry at Bristol Eye Hospital.

A statement from the optometry team at Bristol Eye Hospital shared that Dr Spry became head of optometry 18 years ago.

“Paul leaves behind a family and many friends in optometry, ophthalmology and beyond. He is warmly remembered as a friend and colleague as much as for his notable career in academic research, clinical work, teaching and professional leadership,” the tribute noted.

Spry oversaw the optometry team within Bristol Eye Hospital grow from four optometrists to 30.

He served on the College of Optometrists council and was the optometrist expert on the NICE glaucoma guideline development group.

His interest in electrophysiology led to him establishing a department of visual electrophysiology at Bristol Eye Hospital in 2005.

Colleagues note that he was “particularly delighted” to secure the Bristol-based SS Great Britain as a venue for the 2018 British Society of Electrophysiology and Vision Conference.

“He continued to find new ways of delivering optometry, supporting the set-up of community-based schemes and, during the COVID-19 pandemic, large scale virtual clinics to continue care,” Spry’s colleagues shared.

Spry played lead guitar in the hospital band and kept a flock of rare breed sheep.

“He loved to be outside in the company of his dogs and friends or family. He leaves a professional legacy in Bristol and beyond and colleagues who miss his warmth and wisdom,” his colleagues concluded.

Spry’s contribution to optometry was acknowledged at the latest meeting of the General Optical Council in September. 

GOC council member Glenn Tomison noted that Spry would be missed by the optical community.

“He was a wonderful chap – a great teacher and trainer,” he said.