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Volume 29, Number 5  |  November 2021

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Message from the Chair

November 2021


Walter Wright was the 4th Chair of our Department of Ophthalmology, assuming that role in 1941.  He was recognized for his work in pediatric ophthalmology and ptosis repair and over his term as chair, instituted many changes to the Department.  Of his many contributions to Canadian Ophthalmology, arguably his most important was the creation of a formal residency training program.  In 1959, the Walter W Wright Lectureship was established to recognize him as an educator, and this grew into the Walter Wright Symposium several years later.

The 60th annual Walter Wright Symposium, beginning this Friday, Dec 3 will mark the first in person Canadian Ophthalmology Symposium since the beginning of the pandemic almost 2 years ago.  This year’s Program Directors: Panos Christakis, Ken Eng and Radha Kohly and planning committee:  May Chew, Tim Hillson, Marko Popovic and Allan Slomovic have arranged a terrific program focusing on the expanding knowledge in retina and showcasing developments in multimodal imaging, retinal vascular disease, ARMD, uveitis, ocular genetics, and surgery.  An all-star lineup of guests include Varun Chaudhary, Emily Chew, Mark Pennesi, Kathryn Pepple, David Sarraf, SriniVas Sadda, Sunil Srivastava, Jennifer Sun, Tanya Trinh, and the comic relief of Will Flanary who you might know better as Dr. Glaucomflecken.

I look forward to seeing you all there.
Sherif El-Defrawy, MD, PhD, FRCS(C)
Nanji Family Chair in Ophthalmology & Vision Sciences
Chair & Professor, Department of Ophthalmology & Vision Sciences
University of Toronto
Featured in this issue:


Residents' Retreat

by Eli Kisilevsky and Jason Kwok (PGY5s, Co-Chief Residents)
The resident retreat was held this year in Port Carling, Muskoka and it was the first retreat in two years! This was a much anticipated event for the resident body, and one of the first in-person resident events since COVID started. With restrictions lifting, the department was very supportive in helping us with the retreat. A generous budget was provided to rent two beautiful lakeside cottages along Mirror Lake including a catered lunch and a private dinner on the patio. The residents enjoyed each other's company while taking part in watersports and various team bonding activities. Friendly games of soccer, paddling and canoeing allowed the residents to show their competitive spirits and athletic ability while games of scrabble and salad bowl tested the residents wit and memory. The festivities culminated in an outdoor social next to a crackling fire with burgers grilling in the background! 
This event would not have been possible without Yogesh Patodia (PGY4) who organised every aspect of the retreat from the transportation, the cottage rentals and the food. The biggest challenge of organising the retreat  this year was ensuring that all activities were socially distanced. The weather cooperated, providing us with clear skies and warm temperatures and despite the restrictions, we were able to enjoy a weekend away while abiding by strict safety rules. We all returned from the retreat energized and ready to tackle this academic year!


Fellows Welcome Event

by Sara AlShaker and Nizar Din (Co-Chief Fellows)
After countless Zoom meetings and a restricted social hiatus of nearly 2 years, the fellowship committee at the University of Toronto organized their first in person social event in accordance with Toronto Public Health guidelines. Held at the trendy Chef’s hall in downtown Toronto on Friday, September 24th, 2021, guests were welcomed to a lively yet relaxed outdoor setting, with outdoor heating to fend off the mild chill of a September’s evening. Fellows, residents and staff were welcomed to the event to help foster a greater team bond across the different subspecialties and year groups. Chief fellows, Nizar Din and Sara AlShaker, provided an introduction to the night’s proceedings before handing the mic over to our fellowship chairperson, Dr. Navdeep Nijhawan. He led an ice-breaking session with a game of Canadian-related trivia, with good hearted competitive vibes across the group before a tense final round between the two highest scoring teams. The winning team received Starbucks gift cards and the highly acclaimed title of Canadian quiz masters 2021! Our speaker of the night, Professor Asim Ali, provided an inspiring and thought-provoking talk about Life after Fellowship. Full of personal anecdotes and honest advice, he shone light to what was necessary to keep abreast in the ever-changing field of ophthalmology but also the importance of finding your own niche to ensure lifelong professional and personal satisfaction. The night continued with excellent tapas, drinks and desserts being served throughout the evening. There was a great sense of geniality with sounds of laughter and smiles as new friendships were being made, but also a sense of hope and optimism after a gruelling few months borne by the global pandemic. After such a successful event, further social gatherings are to be planned throughout the academic year. If there are any particular suggestions or ideas, please do not hesitate to contact your chief fellows.

DOVS Optics video series

Congratulations to Dr. John Gorfinkel for leading the project, along with Dr. Sherif El-Defrawy and Dr. John Lloyd, of putting together the Optics textbook as well as the video library of Optics for Clinicians.
The video series consist of 11 half-hour lectures on Optics. They provide an excellent guide for clinicians and have been receiving very good reviews:

optics 1:
optics 2: 
optics 3: 
optics 4: 
optics 5: 
optics 6: 
optics 7: 
optics 8: 
optics 9: 
optics 10:
optics 11:


Global health remains a strategic priority of the DOVS, as we strive to achieve equity in global eye health through research, capacity building, and advocacy.  

In order to better understand the full spectrum of global health activities led by or involving members of the DOVS, we invite all DOVS faculty to complete this brief survey:  

Helen Dimaras, Ph.D.
DOVS Global Health Director

Two Courtesy Ophthalmology Positions

Michael Garron Hospital

Since 1929, Michael Garron Hospital has been the hospital of choice for the people of East Toronto. Our teams provide high-quality care for everyone who walks through our doors. We have been here to take care of you and your loved ones during all stages of life; from delivering babies, caring for children during their formative years, to providing emergency, mental health or surgical services, and enhancing quality of life and providing pain relief for people with life-limiting illnesses. As we embark on the construction of our new Ken and Marilyn Thomson Patient Care Centre, our modernized facility and hospital campus will match the exceptional care we provide for generations to come.

Two Courtesy Ophthalmology Positions

The Department of Ophthalmology at Michael Garron Hospital is searching for two (2) Ophthalmologists, who meet the definition of new graduate according to the Ministry of Health guidelines, to fulfill the role of Courtesy Staff starting on July 1, 2021. The successful candidates will join a collegial group of 11 Comprehensive and Sub-specialty trained Ophthalmologists. Applicants must have completed an accredited Ophthalmology Residency within Canada with FRCSC certification and licensure by the CPSO. Subspecialty fellowship training is not required. A medical and surgical interest in comprehensive paediatric and adult ophthalmology is encouraged.

While this position does not come with dedicated surgical time, there will be many opportunities to pick up operating time. Job responsibilities also include: staffing the OPD eye clinic for emergent and urgent eye care, inpatient consults, and on-call duties. There will be access to a YAG and SLT laser.

Please submit letters of interest, an updated Curriculum Vitae, and two letter of reference to Dr. Lawrence Weisbrod. Email:

Posting Closure Date: January 15, 2022

Advancement News

Why Darren Sissons and Mary Chang are investing in U of T's Retinal Research Innovation Program

Darren Sissons was diagnosed with retinal disease in one eye in 2014. Since then, he has been under the expert care of Dr. Rajeev Muni — a leading U of T clinician-scientist who is developing and delivering innovative retinal disease treatment options for patients like Darren. Inspired by Dr. Muni’s efforts to maintain his patients’ sight and extend their quality of life, Darren and his wife, Mary, have committed $100,000 (including a recent pledge of $50,000) to the Retina Research Innovation Program in support of Dr. Muni’s work providing patients and their families with the gift of vision. 


Honours and Awards

Dr. Edward Margolin received Wightman-Berris Academy Individual Teaching Excellence Award and Sinai Health Excellence in Education Award

Congratulations to Dr. Edward Margolin on receiving the Wightman-Berris Academy Individual Teaching Excellence Award in the Postgraduate category for 2020-2021, as well as the Sinai Health Excellence in Education Award - Distinguished Educator Award.

These awards are given to exemplary teachers who have been nominated by their students, and are based on the information provided in the nomination letters.  The award is a significant accomplishment and honour, and reflects the positive impact that Dr. Margolin had on our learners and their educational experience.

More information about the Wightman-Berris Academy Individual Teaching Excellence Award:

More information about Sinai Health Excellence in Education Awards:

Dr. Neeru Gupta received Chinese Ophthalmological Society Gold Award

Dr. Neeru Gupta received 2021 International Gold Award by the Chinese Ophthalmological Society. This award is the highest honour bestowed by the Chinese Ophthalmological Society, given to recognize an international ophthalmologist who has made outstanding achievements in vision, eye research and eye care, and who has generated a significant contribution to the development of Chinese ophthalmology.

Dr. Kamiar Mireskandari received AAO 2021 Achievement Award

Congratulations to Dr. Kamiar Mireskandari on receiving the 2021 Achievement Award by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).

Dr. Rajeev Muni received the inaugural ARVO Kreissig Award for Excellence in Retinal Surgery

Congratulations to Dr. Rajeev Muni on receiving the inaugural 2021 Kreissig Award for Excellence in Retinal Surgery, which is supported through a generous donation from Ingrid Kreissig, MD, to the ARVO Foundation.  The award includes a $30,000 USD honorarium in recognition of his clinical insights into the long-term surgical and functional outcomes after retinal detachment repair. Dr. Muni will be recognized at ARVO 2022 on Tuesday, May 3 at 7 am in Denver, Colorado.

Ing, Edsel:
Elected as a Director for the World Association of Medical Editors  Jan 2022 -2025 



Ballios, Brian:
  • Ballios BG (PI). Controlling the lineage specification and differentiation of photoreceptor progenitors for retinal regeneration. Foundation Fighting Blindness U.S. Career Development Award 2021. Value: $75,000 USD/year. Duration: 5 years (Aug 2021 – July 2026)
  • Bizheva K (PI), Ballios BG (co-PI), Jones L (co-PI), Chan C (co-PI), Chew H (co-PI), Hileeto D (co-PI), Wong A (co-PI). Optical system for in-vivo imaging and label-free identification of stem cells in the human corneo-scleral limbus for treatment of corneal blindness. Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Project Grant Spring 2021. Value: $592,876 total.  Duration: 5 years (Oct 2021-Sept 2026)

Jin, Yaping & Buys, Yvonne:
  • Research grant ($20,000) from the Glaucoma Research Society of Canada and the inaugural Mitzel Award for a new research project that receives the highest score from the peer reviewers (5,000 CAD)

Invited Lectures and Visiting Professorships

Ballios, Brian:
Interactions with Industry: Opportunities and Things to Know. International Choroideremia Research Network (ICRN): Choroideremia Research Foundation (CRF), Sept 17, 2021.    



Congratulations to Dr. Brian Ballios and Morgan Davidson on their marriage at Canoe in downtown Toronto on November 6th, 2021.

Online Rounds Schedule and Events

Department of Ophthalmology & Vision Sciences

60th Annual Ophthalmology Update

Walter Wright Symposium

December 3 - 4, 2021

Metro Toronto Convention Centre

Our knowledge of the retina has expanded exponentially over the past decade through multimodal imaging, intravitreal medications, advanced surgical techniques, and new therapeutics in inherited retinal diseases. This year’s conference will showcase these developments through clinical cases relevant to our practices. It will also provide a glimpse into the exciting future of retina, with a focus on novel pharmaceuticals and gene therapy. We welcome an esteemed international panel of speakers to share their knowledge and experience with us, and we look forward to your attendance.

Program Directors:
Panos Christakis MD FRCSC
Kenneth T. Eng MD FRCSC
Radha P. Kohly MD PhD FRCSC

For more information and registration link:

Date: December 3-4, 2021
Walter Wright Day

Date: December 10, 2021
Grand Rounds / VPP
Topic: TBA
Speakers: TBA

Date: December 17, 2021
Grand Rounds / VPP
Topic: Paediatrics
Speaker: Dr. Elise Heon

Date: January 14, 2022
Grand Rounds / VPP
Topic: Oculoplastics
Speaker: Dr. Edsel Ing

Date: January 21, 2022
Grand Rounds / VPP
Topic: Myopic and Myopia Control
Speaker: Dr. Stephanie Dotchin

Date: January 28, 2022
Grand Rounds / VPP
Topic: Anterior Segment / Cornea
Speaker: Dr. Clara Chan

* Schedule subject to change

For latest details and links, please visit:

Full Upcoming Calendar and Events

Recent Publications

Recent publications by DOVS Faculty, Staff, Residents and Fellows

September 2021
October 2021
Al-Falah M, Khateb S, Eng KT. Full thickness posterior globe perforation managed with laser photocoagulation.
Can J Ophthalmol. 2021 Oct;56(5):344-345. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjo.2021.02.009. Epub 2021 Mar 13. PMID: 33727103
Donaldson L, Margolin E. Visual fields and optical coherence tomography (OCT) in neuro-ophthalmology: Structure-function correlation. J Neurol Sci. 2021 Oct 15;429:118064. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2021.118064. Epub 2021 Sep 1. PMID: 34488042 Review.

Emami S, Margolin E.
Diplopia, Ptosis, and Drooling in an 80-Year-Old Woman. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2021 Oct 7. doi: 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2021.0691. Online ahead of print. PMID: 34617962

Farahvash A, Marafon SB, Juncal VR, Figueiredo N, Ramachandran A, Muni RH.  Understanding the mechanism of retinal displacement following rhegmatogenous retinal detachment repair: A computer simulation model. Acta Ophthalmol. 2021 Oct 25. doi: 10.1111/aos.15050. Online ahead of print. PMID: 34694071

Felfeli T, Mandelcorn MS, Trussart R, Mandelcorn ED. Preoperative Gas for Pars Plana Vitrectomy: A Surgical Technique for Repair of Rhegmatogenous Retinal Detachments with Multiple, Large or Inferior Breaks. Retin Cases Brief Rep. 2021 Oct 1. doi: 10.1097/ICB.0000000000001197. Online ahead of print. PMID: 34652305

Fidler LM, Balter M, Fisher JH, Stanbrook MB, To T, Kohly R, Gershon AS. 
Ophthalmologic assessments in patients with newly diagnosed sarcoidosis: An observational study from a universal healthcare system. Respir Med. 2021 Oct;187:106575. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2021.106575. Epub 2021 Aug 13. PMID: 34438352

Figueiredo N, Sarraf D, Gunnemann F, Sadda SR, Bansal A, Berger AR, Wong DT, Kohly RP, Kertes PJ, Hillier RJ, Muni RH.
Longitudinal Assessment of Ellipsoid Zone Recovery using En Face Optical Coherence Tomography after Retinal Detachment Repair: En Face OCT Ellipsoid Zone Recovery after RD Repair. Am J Ophthalmol. 2021 Oct 22:S0002-9394(21)00529-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2021.10.012. Online ahead of print. PMID: 34695399

Soliman SE, Bansal A, De Nicola ML, Bhambhwani V, Laperriere N, Gallie BL, Krema H. Applications of iodine-125 plaque radiotherapy for residual or recurrent retinoblastoma. Can J Ophthalmol. 2021 Oct;56(5):317-324. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjo.2020.12.016. Epub 2021 Jan 23. PMID: 33493457

Sorkin N, Ohri A, Jung H, Haines L, Sorbara L, Mimouni M, Singal N, Hatch W; KEI CXL Working Group. Factors affecting central corneal thickness measurement agreement between Scheimpflug imaging and ultrasound pachymetry in keratoconus. Br J Ophthalmol. 2021 Oct;105(10):1371-1375. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2020-317111. Epub 2020 Sep 24. PMID: 32972916

Stein R. Simple Lighting System to Improve Compliance of Surgical Timeout. J Cataract Refract Surg. 2021 Oct 7. doi: 10.1097/j.jcrs.0000000000000793. Online ahead of print. PMID: 34661380

Tai F, Far PM, Pechlivanoglou P, Ramsay L, Georgakopoulos JR, Sander B, Derzko-Dzulynsky LA, Felfeli T.
Efficacy and Safety of Adalimumab and Infliximab for Non-Infectious Uveitis. Ophthalmology. 2021 Oct 8:S0161-6420(21)00747-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2021.09.025. Online ahead of print. PMID: 34634363

Trinh T, Mimouni M, Mednick Z, Einan-Lifshitz A, Cohen E, Santaella G, Sorkin N, Slomovic A.  Author's Response to Letter: Outcomes of Ipsilateral Simple Limbal Epithelial Transplant (SLET), Mitomycin, Tenonectomy and Amniotic Membrane Transplantation for Treatment of Recurrent Pterygium. Cornea. 2021 Oct 1;40(10):e20-e21. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0000000000002749. PMID: 34481416

Wälchli T, Bisschop J, Miettinen A, Ulmann-Schuler A, Hintermüller C, Meyer EP, Krucker T, Wälchli R, Monnier PP, Carmeliet P, Vogel J, Stampanoni M. Nat Protoc. Hierarchical imaging and computational analysis of three-dimensional vascular network architecture in the entire postnatal and adult mouse brain. 2021 Oct;16(10):4564-4610. doi: 10.1038/s41596-021-00587-1. Epub 2021 Sep 3. PMID: 34480130 Review.
J Neurol Sci. 2021 Oct 24;430:120035. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2021.120035. Online ahead of print. PMID: 34717266
Zhu AY, Costain G, Cytrynbaum C, Weksberg R, Cohn RD, Ali A. Novel heterozygous variants in PXDN cause different anterior segment dysgenesis phenotypes in monozygotic twins. Ophthalmic Genet. 2021 Oct;42(5):624-630. doi: 10.1080/13816810.2021.1925929. Epub 2021 May 14. PMID: 33985410
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