Dr Simon Dean – Meet The Visionaries

Dr Simon Dean – Meet The Visionaries

We are so excited to introduce our super interesting and multitalented Dr Simon Dean to you this week.

Dr Simon Dean is an inventor of ophthalmic technology and specialises in Cataract and Ocuplastic surgery.

Read on below to find out more about Dr Dean!

How do you like to spend your spare time and weekends?

We just bought a little log cabin down near the Coromandel that I’m doing up myself.  I get away for the weekend and paint the cabin or do the plumbing, chop firewood or get stuck in with the chainsaw, it’s a great project.

I also run my boys around to different places as they’re in a few bands, as am I. Music is an important thing for our family, it keeps us together, and out of trouble! For me Monday is Auckland Symphony Orchestra on double bass, Tuesday is a band called Originz (which is kind of Celtic, African fusion with bagpipes, where I play percussion), Wednesday night is The GingerBeard Men funk band (electric bass) and Thursday is The City of Auckland Pipe band, where I’m a drummer and practice with my two boys who are a drummer and a piper. What’s really exciting is that we have all been asked by the Nelson Celtic Pipe band to go and play in the World Pipe band Championships in Glasgow!

We know that you enjoy working on projects, are you working on any projects at the moment?

Eye-related, I actually have a neat project which is at a very exciting stage at the moment. I have a patent that’s just been awarded in both the US and Europe for an ultraviolet light which kills off infections on the cornea - like contact lens-related infections.

It’s a light-based device that doesn’t require the use of any eye drops or chemicals. My wife and I were co-supervisors for a Doctor called Sanjay working at the university, and just two weeks ago he was awarded his PhD on the UVC device. My colleague in the UK and I have funded the full project so far and are very excited with its progress. We have also just received investment in the UK and have set up a company called ‘Photon Therapeutics Limited’. We’re excited to bump up the progress to the next level and get prototyping moving.

We really hope this takes off. In a 3rd world country you just can’t get eye drops to people. Just two weeks ago we saw a poor girl who was treated with the wrong drops in the islands. After one look I had to admit her straight to the hospital. It’s moments like that which are so hard to see, and I wish my device was out there helping, especially in places where they just can’t afford to have eye drops or the correct equipment. Even here in New Zealand, every optometrist would benefit from one, so that when anyone comes in with a little spot on their eye, we can simply ‘zap that’. Instead of going on a course of eye drops, we can treat the affected area right there and then, and make sure the eye is sterilised and free of bugs.

Can you tell us something about you that people may not know?

I can tell you four things in fact!

One: A good friend and I have just finished assembling a Ferrari 308, it’s been a three-year project to put it together, and that’s quite cool, having stripped it and built it up from scratch. It’s been a bit of a project! It’s a Magnum PI Ferrari built in 1982, so it’s a classic kind of old school V8.

Two: I used to do photography and have actually done a little bit of photography for Eye Institute in the past. I’ve always loved photography and optics and that’s what got me into eyes really. I wanted to become an optometrist, then my dad who is a GP suggested an eye surgeon might be a terrific career for me, and I’m now an optics examiner for the college as well. I brought corneal collagen crosslinking to NZ with a prototype device my brother (an electronic engineer) and I built from scratch.

Three: I’ve always had a motorbike, and pretty much ride a motorbike every day to and from work unless I need to bring something in with me.  I’ve got a really nice Aprilia V twin motorbike, it’s very noisy though - you could say it turns petrol into noise! Is that a safety feature?!

Four: I never cut my hair at medical school, so I had really long shaggy hair. I first cut my hair again to apply for a job in Auckland because I thought people would have kind of frowned upon it.