Professor Helen Victoria Danesh-Meyer


Helen Danesh-Meyer has been the Sir William Professor of Ophthalmology since 2008 becoming the first female Professor of Ophthalmology in NZ and the second-ever female professor in NZ in any surgical specialty.  She is presently also Head of Academic Neuro-ophthalmology and Glaucoma Research Unit of the New Zealand National Eye Centre.  Professor Danesh-Meyer is an ophthalmic surgeon and clinician-scientist who divides her professional activities equally between patient care activities and research.

She has published 200 scientific papers and has co-authored major textbooks in Neuro-ophthalmology and Glaucoma. Her research interests have also accrued over $15,000,000 in funding from diverse funding bodies including: Health Research Council, Auckland Medical Research Fund and the Save Sight Society.  Her contribution to ophthalmology and research has been recognised as she has been selected as one of the 100 most influential female ophthalmologists internationally, “The Power List, 2021”.

Professor Danesh-Meyer serves on the board of numerous international research and educational organisations. She is Chair of Women in Ophthalmology for RANZCO, Chair of Glaucoma New Zealand,  on the Executive Committee for Women Ophthalmology Worldwide, World Glaucoma Association

Advocacy Committee, Executive of Australia and New Zealand Glaucoma Society, and Executive of Neuro-ophthalmology Society of Australia.  She is also the only New Zealander who has been selected to be a member of the Glaucoma Research Society, which is based on scientific contribution to her field.

Professor Danesh-Meyer is actively involved in education and mentorship. She has supervised and mentored over 20 postgraduate research fellows, students and numerous doctoral candidates. She is regularly invited to be the keynote speaker at international conferences including Harvard Fall Festival, the prestigious American Academy of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons, International Neuro-ophthalmology Society, North American Neuro-ophthalmic Society among a few.


She provides a significant contribution to lecturing undergraduate medical and optometry students as well as post-graduate optometry and ophthalmology professional teaching - both nationally and internationally. She is the only international member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology Basic Clinical Science Section Committee which is mandated with revising the Neuro-ophthalmology Edition. 


Professor Helen Danesh-Meyer is a founding Trustee of Glaucoma New Zealand, a charitable trust for the prevention of blindness from glaucoma that was established in 2003. She has served as the Managing Trustee since its inception and is presently the Chairman of Glaucoma NZ. Over the last five years Glaucoma NZ has grown exponentially and developed a membership of over 15,000 individuals. Helen regularly contributes to the production of literature for its newsletters, public lectures, educational forums and public awareness campaigns, and has given a number of television and radio interviews promoting glaucoma awareness. 


Professor Danesh-Meyer has served on the Editorial Board of several prestigious journals including American Journal of Ophthalmology, Ophthalmology, Survey of Ophthalmology, Clinical and Experimenatal Ophthalmology and Journal of Clinical Neuroscience. Other roles that Professor Danesh -Meyer has held includes Chair of the Scientific Programme Committee of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists, Scientific Director of Save Sight Society, a member of the Scientific Advisory Boards of major pharmaceutical companies including, Glaukos Alcon and Allergan Pharmaceuticals.  She has also served as member of the Court of Examiners for the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists for a decade.


Professor Danesh-Meyer has been recognized for her community service by being awarded the Paul Harris Rotary Medal. Her research has also been featured in the New Scientist, the Listener and North and South.

Research | Current

Optic Neuropathies


Compressive Brain Tumours

Pituitary Tumours




Optic Neuritis

Multiple Sclerosis

Artificial Intelligence and  Deep learning

Eye Tracking


·       The Power List 100: (The Ophthalmologist), 2021: Recognised by The Ophthalmologist as one of the top 100 influential women internationally for contribution to ophthalmology in areas of research, mentorship and leadership.

·       Chairperson / Founding Trustee, Glaucoma NZ (GNZ)

·       Chair, Women in Ophthalmology, RANZCO (2019-present)

·       Executive Committee, Women Ophthalmology Worldwide (2020-present)

·       Executive Committee Member, Advocacy Committee, World Glaucoma Association (2020-present)

·       Visiting Professor at Harvard University‘s Fall Festival  (2016)

·       Invited International Keynote Speaker, Glaucoma Day: America Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons Lecture: The Optic Nerve: Challenging Dogma San Diego, California April 2019

·       Elected Fellow of Learned Society: Glaucoma Research Society (GRS)

Date 2009- present. Membership is limited to approximately 100 scientists worldwide and is determined by research excellence (only New Zealand member). The basis of membership is peer recognition of world-class research excellence.

·       Academy of Asia-Pacific Professors of Ophthalmology (elected council member- only female, 2016) Its membership is limited to the 50 foremost academics in ophthalmology and visual science (judged by academic achievement and influence) among the 80,000 individuals working in this field in the Asia-Pacific region. The Academy is a supranational organisation that develops academic ophthalmology in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond, such as through mentorship programmes

·       Gilles Medal, Australia and New Zealand Glaucoma Society

Award to recognize outstanding original research contributions to the discipline of Glaucoma.

·       Chair, Scientific Programme Committee, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmology (2012-2018)

·       International Award: Paul Harris Rotary Medal (2008.) The Paul Harris Rotary Medal is awarded for “exceptional service” to the community. It is one of the highest awards of Rotary International, and it is very seldomly awarded to a non-Rotarian.

·       Honorary Professorship, University of Melbourne (2010- present) Honorary Professor in the Department of Surgery, University of Melbourne.

·       Invited Editorial, Journal of the American Medical Association (2010) Editorial was entitled: “Lost in Translations: Bumps in the Road from Bench to Bedside” (JAMA 2010; 303:1533-4

·       Member of External Medical Advisory Board, Southern Cross Healthcare  (2005-2010) One of 8 medical specialists selected across all medical and surgical disciplines in NZ to advise the Chief Medical Officer of Southern Cross Healthcare.

·       NEXT Magazine Finalist: 2010 Woman of the Year Award

·       RANZCO Advanced Clinical Examiner, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (2007-2018)

Areas of expertise


Optic nerve Diseae

Giant Cell arteritis

Non-arteritis anterior ischaemic Optic Neuropathy


Multiple Sclerosis, Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disease, Myelin Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein Associated Disease


Optic nerve Imaging

Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension

Tumours of the Brain that Impact the Visual Pathway


Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Wang, M. T. M., King, J., Symons, R. C. A., Stylli, S. S., Meyer, J., Daniell, M. D., ... Danesh-Meyer, H. V. (2020). Prognostic Utility of Optical Coherence Tomography for Long-Term Visual Recovery Following Pituitary Tumor Surgery. American journal of ophthalmology, 218, 247-254. 10.1016/j.ajo.2020.06.004
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Michael Wang
  • Wang, M. T. M., & Danesh-Meyer, H. V. (2020). Cannabinoids and the eye. Survey of ophthalmology10.1016/j.survophthal.2020.07.002
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Michael Wang
  • Wang, M. T., Prime, Z. J., Danesh-Meyer, H. V., & Craig, J. P. (2020). Two cases of episcleral tattooing presenting to the acute ophthalmic clinic. The New Zealand medical journal, 133 (1519), 116-120.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Michael Wang, Jennifer Craig
  • Gill, H., Danesh-Meyer, H. V., Sims, J. L., Nisbet, M., & Niederer, R. L. (2020). Ocular syphilis in Pacific peoples-are we making misdiagnoses secondary to yaws?. The New Zealand medical journal, 133 (1513), 53-60.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Rachael Niederer
  • Danesh-Meyer, H. V., Yoon, J. J., Lawlor, M., & Savino, P. J. (2019). Visual loss and recovery in chiasmal compression. Progress in retinal and eye research, 7310.1016/j.preteyeres.2019.06.001
  • Jain, N. S., Kersten, H. M., Watson, S. L., & Danesh-Meyer, H. V. (2019). Gender differences in Australasian ophthalmologists' experiences of the workplace. Clinical & experimental ophthalmology, 47 (6), 706-712. 10.1111/ceo.13487
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Hannah Kersten
  • Yoon, J. J., & Danesh-Meyer, H. V. (2019). Caffeine and the eye. Survey of ophthalmology, 64 (3), 334-344. 10.1016/j.survophthal.2018.10.005
  • Mugisho, O. O., Green, C. R., Squirrell, D. M., Bould, S., Danesh-Meyer, H. V., Zhang, J., ... Rupenthal, I. D. (2019). Connexin43 hemichannel block protects against the development of diabetic retinopathy signs in a mouse model of the disease. Journal of molecular medicine (Berlin, Germany), 97 (2), 215-229. 10.1007/s00109-018-1727-5
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jie Zhang, Colin Green, Monica Acosta, Ilva Rupenthal, Lola Mugisho

Contact details

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 504 - Bldg 504
Level 4, Room 409
New Zealand