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histryThe MOS is a charity that promotes the continued teaching and learning of Ophthalmology within the Midlands. It is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge, understanding and practice of Ophthalmology.

On 23rd March 1888, Richard Middlemore signed a foundation deed for a lectureship to be appointed annually. It was “the founder’s desire and earnest request that the lecture or lectures be published either in a separate form or in some medical periodical publication in Great Britain.” In 1889 the first lecture series, "The Essentials of Ophthalmic Therapeutics” was given by Mr Lloyd Owens and later published. The Middlemore Lecture has been held annually ever since (Middlemore Lecturers: 1889-).

Richard Middlemore's (1804-1891) life and career was published in 1920 within the British Masters of Ophthalmology Series in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, February 1920. There is no easy way to condense his achievements, character and legacy.

In a letter to Dr Jameson Evans dated 15th November 1925, Richard Middlemore’s nephew described him as “devoted to his profession, with a charming personality. He was most kind and sympathetic to all his patients.”

In 1911 the formation of a Midland Ophthalmological Society (MOS) was under consideration. On 14th November 1911, an inaugural meeting was held at the Imperial Hotel in Birmingham over which Mr Lloyd Owen presided. An article in the Birmingham Medical Review on 29th November 1911 reported the meeting where Mr Owen proposed the formation of the Society. He pointed out the leading role that Midlands surgeons had taken in Ophthalmology and in particular mentioned the valuable work of Richard Middlemore.

The MOS aims in 1911 were “to help Midlands surgeons to know each other, and enable them to share cases which could not always go to London”. It was hoped that the young society would take a useful part in the advancement of British Ophthalmology. In 1911 members were enrolled from London, Walsall, Newcastle under Lyme, Gloucester, Cheltenham, Dudley, Leamington and other towns in the Midlands.

On Friday 22nd October 1926, the Richard Middlemore post-graduate lecture trustees declared the advantage of holding the lecture on the same day as the meeting of the Midland Ophthalmological Society, and to this day it is held in Birmingham annually in October.

Later in 1948, the House Governor of the Birmingham Eye Hospital reported that this lectureship fund had originally been set up with a capital of £1000, which had been invested in the London Midland Service Railway Stock. When the railways were nationalized, this stock depreciated in value, so that the income derived would no longer provide sufficient funds to meet the obligations. The lecture was in jeopardy. However the educational value of the annual event was clear and the finances were quickly resolved. The fund was re-instated back to the sum of £1000 from “general funds”, from which stock in British Transport was bought for a projected 3% income. Today the lecture is supported by the contributions of members of the MOS.

The Society has been geographically far reaching within the UK and abroad. Meetings from the early years were across England, as far south as Oxford Eye Hospital and Gloucester Royal Infirmary and Eye Institution. Annually there is a winter meeting in Europe and a summer meeting in Cyprus [link to]. The MOS has not stood in isolation and has frequently had meetings with other societies such as the Northern Ophthalmological society and the Royal College of Ophthalmologists.

The only significant change to the Society’s constitution in recent times was in 1993, when it acquired charitable status. A new constitution was drawn up to meet the charity commissioner requirements which essentially mirrored the original constitution.


The latest aims of the MOS are:

  1. To promote education amongst doctors for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and conditions of the eye and associated structures.
  2. To encourage research into diseases of the eye and associated structures, and to publish the useful results of such research.
  3. The relief of sickness amongst people with diseases of the eye and associated structures via the above mentioned activities.