James is an eye surgeon based in Adelaide. He is a visiting consultant and senior lecturer at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and Women’s and Children’s Hospital. James has a special interest in blindness prevention, ophthalmic research and education in the developing world. James was a co-founder and Director of the Vision Myanmar Program.
He received an ‘Outstanding Service in Prevention of Blindness Award’ by the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology in 2011. He was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in 2012 and received a South Australian Community Achievement Award. In 2015 James was the recipient of the Ernst Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award. James delivered the Hollows Lecture at the 2016 RANZCO Congress.
In November 2019, James was announced SA Australian of the Year 2020. In January 2020, James received the 2020 Australian of the Year Award.