Gold Medal Awards

The Crook Medal

The Company’s Gold medal is named after Lord Crook, who was Chairman of the inter-departmental Committee on the Statutory Registration of Opticians whose work led to the establishment of the General Optical Council. Lord Crook was Master of the Company from 1963 to 1965. This highly prestigious award is given to honour “outstanding contributions to the understanding or improvement of vision” and has been presented on only eleven occasions:

Sir Alan Hodgkin OM, FRS (1983) – for work that had increased understanding of the mechanism of conversion of light-energy patterns of the retinal image into electrical patterns which are transmitted to the brain.

Professor WD Wright DSc, ARCS, DIC (1985) – for research into colour vision, colour measurement and television.

Harold Ridley Esquire MD, FRCS, FRS, (later Sir Harold Ridley) (1987) – for pioneering work in lens implant techniques, and his important original contribution to tropical ophthalmology, particularly in onchocerciasis, nutrional amblyopia, keratomalacia in infants and ocular leprosy.

Professor Norman H Ashton CBE, DSc, FRCP, FRCS, FRS (1989) – for proving that the cause of bilateral blindness in premature babies was the high oxygen content in the incubators, and thereby eliminating what had been a tragic epidemic in the early 1950s.

Professor Horace Barlow MB, BCh, MD, ScD, FRS (1993) – for pioneering work on lateral inhibition in the vertebrate retina.

Professor Richard Langton Gregory CBE, MA, DSc, LLD, FRS (1996) – for his profound evaluations of the relationship between perception, especially visual perception, and the physical world.

Professor John Marshall BSc, PhD, FRCPath, Hon FCOptom, Hon FRCOphth, FLIA, FRSA (2001) – for his pioneering work with the utilisation of laser light in the diagnosis and treatment of ocular conditions and, in particular, the creation of laser refractive surgery.

Professor Colin Blakemore PhD, ScD, FIBiol, F Med Sci, FRS (2004) – for revolutionising understanding of the interactions between the eye and the brain, and the development of visual processing.

Professor John Mollon DSc, FRS (2008) – for revolutionizing our understanding of colour perception.

Professor Geoffrey Arden PhD MBBS FRCOphth (2017) – for his work on the electrophysiology of the eye.

Professor Alan Bird MRCS, LRCP, MB, BS, FRCS, MD, FRCOphth, F Med Sci (2023) – for his lifelong commitment to the improvement of ophthalmology, across institutions, countries and generations of ophthalmologists.

The Gold medal is awarded only on the authority of the Master and Wardens, based on recommendations made by professors from across the UK and approved by the Court.