To submit content for Ophthalmic News, please contact:

Volume 23, Number 2  |  May 2015

View this email in your browser

Message from the Chair

As we prepare to welcome PGY-1 ophthalmology residents from across Canada to TORIC—our annual six-week basic science and introduction to general ophthalmology course—I would like to take a minute to appreciate the Toronto Ophthalmology Residents Introductory Course’s long and storied history.  Thanks to Calvin Breslin, Stephen Kraft, Yvonne Buys, and David Yan for helping me understand this history.

TORIC has become a crucial part of ophthalmology subspecialty training in Canada with attendance from every Canadian PGY-1 ophthalmology resident across the country. This six-week course at the end of the 1st year of the residency provides basic ophthalmic knowledge and diagnostic skills before the start of the clinical year in core ophthalmology.

Read more


Featured in this issue:

Upcoming Events
Honours and Awards
Spotlight on our Faculty
Recent Publications
Introducing New OMP Rounds
The new University of Toronto OMP Rounds, short for Ophthalmic Medical Personnel Rounds, was successfully launched with the first event on February 11, 2015. This quarterly educational event series is open to all allied health professionals in ophthalmology—ophthalmic assistants, technicians, COMTS, as well as photographers, imagers, orthoptists, researchers, and administrators and nurses in ophthalmology.

The concept for OMP Rounds was conceived last spring at the OPS (Ophthalmic Photographer’s Society) International Conference on Ophthalmic Photography organized by Cynthia VandenHoven, CRA, from SickKids. It was at this meeting, that Cynthia met Lori Henderson, a COMT working at Kensington Eye Institute, and began the discussion as to how they might improve the OMP network in the GTA.  

Since then, with strong support from DOVS Chair Dr. Sherif El-Defrawy, they have obtained U of T recognization as a Continuing Education Credit (CEC) provider through JCAHPO (Joint Commission of Allied Health Professionals in Ophthalmology), one of the main certifying bodies for many of our highly trained OMP. They hope in the near future to also be able to have approval for CECs for orthoptists for applicable rounds content.

The first Round was held at the Faculty Conference Centre at 45 Brunswick Ave and included talks by Dr. El-Defrawy and Dr. Netan Choudhry. Twenty OMP attended.

The second OMP Rounds will be held at the newly constructed Peter Gilgan Centre at Sickkids Hospital on May 26, 2015, from 5:45 -7:45 PM. The first lecture will be by Dr. Deepa Yoganathan, speaking on the value and contribution of fundus autoflorescence imaging in vitreoretinal and genetic diseases. The second speaker, Allan Connor, is an award winning ophthalmic imaging specialist from Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and his talk is entitled, “Cultivating Imaging Excellence: Tips and Tricks from an Ocular Oncology Ophthalmic Photographer.”

The lectures are pending approval for 1.5 JCHAPO CECs. Anyone interested in attending should contact Cynthia VandenHoven ( or Lori Henderson (
A Call for Volunteers at Children and Adult Local Shelters

Drs. Myrna Lichter and Nasrin Tehrani invite volunteers to help over the coming year with a study to assess the ophthalmology needs of children and their families in shelters (homeless, domestic violence, and refugee) in the GTA. They have coordinated a team of medical students, nurses, and research coordinators who have volunteered their time to help examine all family members in local shelters and welcome members of DOVS, residents, fellows, and faculty who may wish to help in this endeavour.

Please email Drs. Tehrani and Lichter directly at or if you feel able to help in examining children and adults in this project. Visits may involve some evenings and weekends. They would be happy to add any names to the REB application as an amendment.
May 14, 2015
Annual Combined Rounds -
The Toronto Ophthalmological Society & U of T Ophthalmology & Vision Sciences
"The Pharmacology of Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment: Issues to Consider"
Dr. Karl G. Csaky

May 19, 2015
DOVS City Wide Annual General Meeting

May 21, 2015
Quality Assurance Round
Drs. Nancy Epstein & Wendy Hatch

May 28, 2015
Research Seminar Series - Retina
Drs. Michael Brent & Chris Hudson

May 29, 2015
Annual Research Day
For details, click here.

For details and locations of all events, please refer to our Calendar and Events

Professor Peter Scanlon to Speak at St. Michael's Hospital
On Friday, May 15, 2015, Professor Peter Scanlon will be speaking at St. Michael's Hospital (61 Queen Street East). His talk is called "The importance of Early Diagnosis and Effective Screening: A Case Study. The talk will be from 7:00-8:00 AM in the 7th floor conference room (7-042). If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Darlene Gervais by May 8th at 416-867-3704 or


Walter Wright 2015 Topic Announced

The topic for the 55th Annual Walter Wright Symposium will be Cornea and Anterior Segment: Where we are now and what the future holds.

This unique annual ophthalmology update course will cover all core aspects of cornea diagnosis and management in comprehensive clinical practice. The management of keratoconus, current and future applications for crosslinking, and optimal use of imaging tools will be highlighted. Diagnostic and treatment strategies and goals for frequently encountered conditions such as dry eye, recurrent erosion syndrome, bacterial and viral keratitis, ocular allergy, and inflammatory conditions will be reviewed. As well, updates will be provided on topics such as management of acute traumatic injuries of the anterior segment, lamellar corneal surgeries, cataract surgery pearls in the context of corneal disease, and the role of femtosecond laser in corneal and cataract surgery. The management of routine and complex challenging cases of ocular surface and limbal stem cell disease will also be discussed.
Participants will be exposed to the role of genetic analysis in corneal disease, an update on refractive surgery options and techniques, in addition to surgical options for presbyopia correction. Finally, practical tips will be shared for cataract surgery in post-refractive eyes, managing astigmatism and residual refractive error, transitioning to femtosecond laser cataract surgery, and dealing with complex femtosecond laser cases. 
This year's meeting will be welcoming world renowned guest speakers from Bascom Palmer Eye Institute (Miami, FL), Centre for Sight (London, UK), Cincinnati Eye Institute (Cincinnati, OH), Devers Eye Institute (Portland, OR), Jules Stein Eye Institute (Los Angeles, CA), Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (Boston, MA), NYU Medical School (New York, NY), and Wills Eye Hospital (Philadelphia, PA).
Active stimulating case-based discussions are anticipated throughout this unprecedented comprehensive cornea program with the esteemed invited faculty and Toronto-based moderators and panelists. We look forward to seeing you at this year's Walter Wright in Toronto!

Date: December 4-5, 2015
Location: Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building
Course co-directors: Drs. Allan Slomovic and Clara Chan
Planning committee: Drs. Hall Chew, Eugene Liu, and Sherif El-Defrawy


Dr. John Fowler receives Integrated Medical Education Award

Congratulations to Dr. John Fowler who has been honoured for his exemplary teaching with the 2015 Integrated Medical Education Award for Sustained Excellence in Community-based Clinical Teaching. The presentation ceremony will be held on May 12, 2015 during Education Achievement Day at Hart House.

Established in 2012 by the Faculty of Medicine, this award recognizes clinical teachers who excel in their roles and are committed to the growth of our learners. A selection of the testimonials received for Dr. Fowler demonstrate his remarkable contribution to DOVS and the University of Toronto.

"The entire ophthalmology community recognizes and is tremendously humbled by Dr. Fowler's commitment to medical teaching and his excellence in accomplishing this over the last 43 years. He has influenced two generations of medical students, family physicians and ophthalmologists and through these teachings countless numbers of patients have benefited."

"Dr. Fowler's profound impact, his passion and his dedication to teaching is second to none. That this excellence has been sustained for 43 years is nothing short of remarkable."

"If I was living in the Veteran Wing at Sunnybrook I'd want Dr. Fowler to be my Ophthalmologist. He takes time to listen, relates to these patients' past, and empathizes with their fears. He has mentored how to treat our most frail patients with the utmost dignity and respect to thousands of learners."

"Dr. Fowler represents everything that is right about medicine."


Drs. Rand Simpson and Myrna Lichter Receive Awards at EPSO AGM

At the Eye Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (EPSO) Annual General Meeting on May 1, 2015, two DOVS faculty members received important recognition for their work. Dr. Rand Simpson was presented the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of a distinguished career of service to the specialty of ophthalmology. As well, Dr. Myrna Lichter was presented the 2015 Innovator of the Year Award for her work and research surrounding visual impairment and unmet eye care needs among homeless adults.

Dr. Joseph Ma wins Best Paper of Session (BPOS) Award at the ASCRS 

Dr. Joseph Ma won Best Paper of Session Award at the 2015 American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery meeting. His paper was entitled: "Intra-operative OCT for the Prediction of True Lens position in Femtosecond Refractive Laser Assisted Cataract Surgery" and described the concept of using three-dimensional OCT-based morphology algorithms to create a better prediction of lens position and to create a more precise metric to optimize lens calculation algorithms using radial basis functions and ray trace models.

Dr. Jeremy Sivak awarded NSERC 2015 Discovery Grant

Dr. Jeremy Sivak has been awarded a five-year NSERC 2015 Discovery Grant for his study entitled: 
Molecular Mechanisms Regulating Astrocyte Functions in the Retina. The award amount is $28,000 per year. 

Behind the Science: DOVS researcher - Jeremy M. Sivak, PhD

Assistant Professor, DOVS and Glaucoma Research Chair at the Toronto Western Hospital Research Institute

Dr. Jeremy Sivak received his PhD in cell, developmental, and molecular biology from the New England Medical Center/Tufts University in Boston, MA, followed by postdoctoral research at the Wellcome Trust funded Gurdon Institute, at the University of Cambridge, UK. Prior to his appointment at the University of Toronto, Dr. Sivak spent five years at Novartis where he ran an ophthalmic drug discovery laboratory, identifying molecular targets and drug candidates to treat various eye diseases, as well as investigations in ocular drug delivery.

The Sivak Lab studies the molecular pathways directing cellular responses to tissue damage and repair in the eye. This work has direct relevance to retinal degenerative diseases, and also serves as a model for these mechanisms in the central nervous system and other organs. His lab has recently turned their attention to damage of the retinal ganglion cells and their associated glia. Injury to these tissues drives the pathologic outcome for patients with glaucoma.

Dr. Nupura Bakshi and Puneet welcomed the arrival of baby Miraya on March 23, 2015. Congratulations Nupura and Puneet!

Introducing Finn Edward Schlenker, born on April 13, 2014 at Sunnybrook Hospital, weighing 7 pounds 13 oz, to Matt Schlenker (PGY 5) and Crystal. Three-year-old sister Willow was disappointed that her parents did not follow her recommendation to name her baby brother "Wolverine."


Recent publications by DOVS Faculty, Staff, Residents and Fellows

May 2015

Abou El Hassan M, Yu T, Song L, Bremner R. Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 Confers BRG1 Dependency on the CIITA Locus. J Immunol. 2015 Apr 10.

Beltran-Agullo L, Trope GE, Jin Y, Wagschal LD, Jinapriya D, Buys YM. Comparison of visual recovery following Ex-PRESS versus trabeculectomy: results of a prospective randomized controlled trial. J Glaucoma 2015; 24(3): 181-6.

Cheng J, Abolhasani M, Beltran-Agullo L, Moss EBBuys YM, Trope GE. Priming the Ahmed Glaucoma Valve: pressure required and effect of overpriming. J Glaucoma 2015; 24(4): e34-5.

Del Pilar González M, Kraft SP. Outcomes of three different vertical rectus muscle transposition procedures for complete abducens nerve palsy. J AAPOS. 2015 Apr; 19(2): 150-6.

Elbaz U, Mireskandari K, Shen C, Ali A. Corneal Fine Needle Diathermy With Adjuvant Bevacizumab to Treat Corneal Neovascularization in Children. Cornea. 2015 Mar 25.

Goldich Y, Ziai S, Artornsombudh P, Avni-Zauberman N, Elbaz U, Rootman DS, Chan CC. Characteristics of patients with ocular cicatricial pemphigoid referred to major tertiary hospital. Can J Ophthalmol. 2015 Apr;50(2):137-42.

Isaac M, Mireskandari K, Tehrani N. Treatment of type 1 retinopathy of prematurity with bevacizumab versus laser. J AAPOS. 2015 Apr; 19(2): 140-4.

Leung VC, Jin YP, Hatch W, Mammo Z, Trope GEBuys YM, Macrae WG. The relationship between sociodemographic factors and persistence with topical glaucoma medications. J Glaucoma 2015; 24(1): 69-76. 

Micieli JA, Margolin E. A 30-year-old woman with vision loss and painful eye movements. CMAJ. 2015 Apr 13.

Patel HY, Buys YM, Trope GE. Nailfold capillaroscopy assessment in patients with glaucoma with a current optic disc hemorrhage. Can J Ophthalmol. 2015 Apr; 50(2): 155-8.

Schlenker MB, Trope GEBuys YM. Comparison of United States and Canadian glaucoma medication costs and price change from 2006 to 2013. Journal of Ophthalmology [Internet] 5 March 2015; Article ID: 547960 [8 pages].

Sharma A, Liu ES, Le TD, Adatia FA, Buncic JR, Blaser S, Richardson S. Pediatric orbital cellulitis in the Haemophilus influenzae vaccine era. J AAPOS. 2015 Apr 18.

Wong L, Power N, Miles A, Tropepe V. Mutual antagonism of the paired-type homeobox genes, vsx2 and dmbx1, regulates retinal progenitor cell cycle exit upstream of ccnd1 expression. Dev Biol. 2015 Apr 11.

Copyright © 2015 University of Toronto Department of Ophthalmology & Vision Sciences, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences