A WIRRAL eye surgeon is to take up the prestigious role of Vice President at the Royal College of Ophthalmologists.

Mark Watts has been a consultant at Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust for almost 20 years and is a key figure in ophthalmology, dealing with the anatomy, physiology and diseases of the eye.

On the new role he said: "I feel extremely proud to have been appointed to this position and look forward to advancing training in eye surgery.

"Being part of a university teaching hospital has helped me immensely in promoting the importance of education."

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists has more than 3,000 members worldwide.

Mark's role will be to take charge of the important task of directing the education of all ophthalmic surgeons in training in the UK in order to continue improving standards of care for patients.

Mark has been the skills tutor at the Royal College for the past six years.

This includes running all the training courses, using state of the art 3D equipment, around cataract and retinal problems.

Not only will Mark take up the position of Vice President in May 2013, he will also become Head of Education for the college.

Evan Moore is medical director for Wirral University Teaching Hospital.

He said: "We are delighted that one of our longstanding eye consultants is to become Vice President at the Royal College of Ophthalmologists.

"This reaffirms the commitment Wirral University Teaching Hospital has in employing the most highly regarded consultants in order to deliver a first class service to the people of Wirral.

"As we know, the majority of eye problems are associated with age.

"This region has a high proportion of older people who need access to the very best possible eye team."

Eye education plays a huge part at Wirral University Teaching Hospital.

The Trust is just one of twelve training labs across the country to have a special simulator called EYEsi.

It allows the user to perform incredibly delicate operations in a safe, virtual environment and also enables highly qualified eye surgeons to practise new cutting edge surgical techniques, without any risk to patients.

The equipment was made possible following a £150,000 donation from the Arrowe Park Hospital Charity for Eyes (APACHE) back in 2011.