Obituary: Joanne Ruth Marks
Author: Dr Robert Harper
Jo Marks, optometrist at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital (MREH) from 2004 to 2018, passed away peacefully in North Manchester’s Bury Hospice on December 26 2018, aged 48 years. Jo began her optometry journey in 1988 at the then UMIST Optometry Department. Given her outstanding academic abilities, it was not a great surprise when she graduated with a first in optometry in 1991.
After a short time in private practice, Jo became a research optometrist at UCL’s Institute of Ophthalmology between 1998 and 2004, assessing patients within a major RCT of glaucoma surgery run by Professor Sir Peng Tee Khaw. During this time Jo undertook sessional work in both private practice and at Moorfields Eye Hospital. During this time she developed a specialist interest in glaucoma. She also undertook an MSc, culminating in a dissertation on the role of corneal thickness measurement in glaucoma.
As the Moorfields trial ended, she was initially appointed as a senior optometrist in glaucoma at MREH in 2004 but also undertook roles as a principal optometrist within the Optometry Led Glaucoma Service. During these years she verified her glaucoma expertise through undertaking the ‘old style’ College of Optometrist certificate A and B exams (and thereby gaining the DipGlauc).
She continued to be involved in teaching and research, shining as brightly as she did in matters clinical. Jo was, without any sense of exaggeration, a quite outstanding optometrist. She was clinically astute, highly conscientious and assiduous, always working with a terrific attention to detail. We all learned much from her approach, and she set the standard to aspire to. Jo was a truly selfless individual, and with characteristic modesty won an ‘unsung hero’ award within Manchester’s NHS Trust in recent years.
She was also a very thoughtful, kind and most caring friend and colleague to many at MREH and beyond. She will be remembered for all of these things as well as her wonderful and wicked sense of humour. Jo will be missed so very much by all of us at MREH and beyond: optometrists; ophthalmologists; nursing staff; ophthalmic science practitioners, and not least by her patients, many of whom continued to ask after her during her time away through ill health. Jo leaves behind her beloved parents and sister Mandi. A service at MREH to celebrate Jo’s life will be held in the spring.