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
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:
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: j.mp/3nfJV9U
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: email@example.com
Posting Closure Date: January 15, 2022
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.
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.
Elected as a Director for the World Association of Medical Editors Jan 2022 -2025
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
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.
Panos Christakis MD FRCSC
Kenneth T. Eng MD FRCSC
Radha P. Kohly MD PhD FRCSC
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