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Volume 24, Number 3  | December 2016

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Dr. Sherif El-Defrawy
Message from the Chair

December 2016

Many exciting changes are happening to all our departmental educational programs at this time.

As many of you know a whole new curriculum is being developed for our MD program and of course ophthalmology lectures, labs and practical sessions are included.

Dan Weisbrod, our Undergraduate Director, along with Kathy Cao and Hannah Chiu are working hard on developing  a new ophthalmology curriculum which is much less didactic and focuses on learning from patient cases, interactive sessions and personal learning in an integrated fashion. A  next step for undergraduate education will be an examination of the clerkship rotation. Our curriculum hasn’t changed for the last two decades, and there is a good chance this new version will endure for the future two decades. The new integrated curriculum will roll out for the first time in the fall of 2017.  This is an exciting step for our department and our opportunity to lay the foundation of an excellent undergraduate ophthalmology program.

As well, many exciting changes are occurring in our postgraduate curriculum.  Under the leadership of John Lloyd and the Postgraduate Resident Committee including  David Yan,  modifications have enhanced surgical learning and allowed for intensive involvement in subspecialty training.  Modifications are being examined as to how continuity can be provided in the surgical, general, and subspecialty experience as well as continuity at specific sites.  Concepts are being explored such as senior call, transition to practice for the PGY5s, including clinics operated by a PGY5 (with a MRP designate).  With the competence by design initiative by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada,  we will look to transition from the traditional time-based model  to a hybrid form of educating our residents and promoting them based on competence.  While we will not look to make this transition for another four or five years, current changes better prepare us for this in the future.

With regards to continuing education and professional development, Radha Kohly and Ed Margolin are currently organizing the second TED style review course.  Last May’s inaugural course featured speakers having a much more intimate dialogue directly with the audience and  emphasizing the most important  pearls of information.  Not only was the symposium seen as a very effective method of educating our faculty but  it was also an effective way of educating the speakers in the program  on how to appropriately connect with an audience and deliver teaching points effectively. This program was a success in teaching the audience and in teaching the teachers.

The Walter Wright symposium took place very recently and was a resounding success thanks to the hard work of Efrem Mandelcorn and Jason Noble and their organizing committee.  The program highlighted important themes in the subspecialty of retina with excellent case presentations and panel discussions expressing different points of view.  An unexpected few songs from the cast members of the Jersey Boys following lunch on the first day aroused the audience from their post prandial narcolepsy and kept them attentive for the rest of the afternoon. 

Education is one of our three foundations and I thank all the Department’s educators for tackling this endeavour with the gusto and enthusiasm DOVS is known for.

Happy Holidays/Merry Christmas to everyone and very best wishes for the New Year.

Sherif El-Defrawy
Chair, Department of Ophthalmology & Vision Sciences
University of Toronto

Featured in this issue:


Residents' Report

Kay Lam and Amandeep Rai, PGY5
Residents’ Retreat

The 6th annual University of Toronto Ophthalmology Residents’ Retreat took place September 23-25 in Collingwood, Ontario. The retreat is an annual highlight that promotes resident wellness, bonding, and professional development.
The residents enjoyed kayaking and canoeing down Beaver River on a sunny autumn morning. We paddled with just minor mishaps – and most of us managed to stay dry!
Our invited speakers gave truly fantastic talks that were appreciated and enjoyed by all. Dr. Andrea Leung shared her personal experiences about “Life after residency” and spoke candidly about the joys and challenges of early practice. Dr. Matthew Bujak described his international medical travels and adventures and challenged us all to share actionable “bucket list” life items.
A special thanks to Stephanie Low and Stephan Ong-Tone for organizing the weekend. We’d also like to thank our guest speakers, and the Department of Ophthalmology for supporting the weekend retreat.

Education Coordinator - Sandra Gauci

Effective Nov 18, 2016, Sandra Gauci has joined DOVS as our new Education Coordinator.  Welcome Sandra!

Honours and Awards

September - October 2016

Ballios BG (PI):
Bioengineered transplantation of stem cell-derived cone photoreceptors for retinal regeneration. Retina Foundation of Canada, Junior Clinical Research Grant Competition. 2016.

Greene R, Felfeli T, Jin YP, Buys YM:
The 9th Annual DLSPH Student Led Conference – Secure Income, Secure Health: Working Towards Equitable Solutions October 21-22, 2016, Toronto, Ontario.
- Gender differences in physician pay: An analysis of annual billing trends of Ontario physicians from 1992 to 2014.
3rd Prize - Poster Presentation

Gupta, N:
Appointed as Vice President, International Council of Ophthalmology

Markowitz, S:
Lifetime Achievement Award from Eye Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, Ontario Medical Association in recognition of a distinguished career of service to the specialty of Ophthalmology.


Jaithan Welling started making his way into the world on his parents' 1 year wedding anniversary. He was born a day later, November 22, 2016 at 3:42am, 7 pounds 8 oz, 21.5 inches long. Deepa Yoganathan and Neel Welling are excited to share these moments from Day 2 of their son's life.

In  Memoriam

Mary Margaret BUNCIC (nee HENLEY)

December 22, 1942 - November 2, 2016

Passed away unexpectedly in Toronto. She is survived by her beloved husband Dr. Joseph Raymond (Ray). Loving mother of her three children, Christopher (Amy), Nicholas (Eva) and Andrea (Jesse), and loving grandmother of Jackson, Nolan, and Anna and two soon expected arrivals. Beloved eldest sister of John (late), Peter (late), Edward (EP), Cathy, Elizabeth, David, Elfie, Ann, Christopher, Michael, and Charlie Henley.

As the big sister, Mary grew her leadership skills in raising her siblings in Gander and St. John's, NL, instilling a powerful sense of a loyal and happy family and community. Through her years, she enjoyed enthusiastic community involvement in her children's Blessed Sacrament elementary school, including PTA presidency, Blessed Sacrament and North York girls' hockey teams, boy scouts and many of her other children's activities. She relished crafts of all sorts but mainly sewing and knitting like a pro. Her much loved tour de force was the organisation of the annual Henley family reunion at the Muskoka cottage, generously a wonderful life memory for the family and friends of all ages. Throughout her time she lived a life of love and generosity, of caring and giving. Her weekly chocolate cake at the church out-of-the cold Sundays for the homeless was awaited with eager anticipation. She kept her fellow seamstresses at SickKids laughing with her Newfoundland humour as they turned out baby garments for hospital sale.

After graduation from the Sacred Heart convent school in Halifax, she attended Memorial University,

St. Francis Xavier (B.Sc) universities and University of Manitoba (Master of Nutrition), eventually joining the dietetics department at the newly formed McMaster Medical School and then moved to Toronto (1975) to marry Ray and start their family.

Friends may call at the TRULL "NORTH TORONTO" FUNERAL HOME & CREMATION CENTRE, 2704 Yonge St. (5 blocks south of Lawrence Ave.) on Monday, November 7 from 6-9 p.m. A Funeral Mass will be held on Tuesday, November 8 in the BLESSED SACRAMENT CATHOLIC CHURCH (Yonge St. south of Lawrence Ave.) at 11 a.m. followed by a reception in the church hall.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the Alzheimer Society of Canada or the Dotsa Bitove Wellness Academy – UHN would be appreciated by the family.

Dr. Maria Arstikaitis Uleckas

April 9, 1923 - October 28, 2016

At Belmont House in Toronto, Ontario on October 28, 2016 in her 94th year. Born in the Village of Kriukai, Lithuania on April 9, 1923 to Marijona (nee Sinkeviciute) and Jonas Arstikaitis. Predeceased by her husband, Juozas Uleckas, and siblings, Alfonsas, Jonas, Gabrine, and Albina. Survived by her daughter, Jurate; son, Gintaras (Irene Armstrong); and grandchildren, Jonas, Kristina, and Simone. Maria graduated from Ausra Gymnasium for Girls. She began her medical studies at the University of Vytautas the Great in Lithuania and completed her M.D. at the University of Innsbruck, Austria in 1947. After graduation, she moved to Paris, France where she worked for a short time at the St. Louis Hospital, Serology Section. Then she immigrated to Canada and interned at the Ottawa Civic Hospital followed by residency training in ophthalmology at the University of Toronto, where she later became an assistant professor. Maria was on staff at the Hospital for Sick Children and enjoyed a successful career that spanned almost five decades. Maria's love for paediatric ophthalmology was matched by her love for Lithuania and she worked tirelessly in support of Lithuanian independence. In 1991, she received an Award of Merit from the City of Toronto for her professional work and community service. Maria was a sports enthusiast into her 80s and particularly loved skiing, swimming and long walks. The family would like to thank the wonderful staff at Belmont House who provided excellent care to Maria. Maria's funeral will take place on Saturday, November 19, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. at the Church of the Resurrection, 1 Resurrection Road, followed by interment at St. John's Lithuanian Cemetery. If desired, a donation to the Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences at The Hospital for Sick Children (416-813-5320) or in aid of The Franciscan High School in Kretinga, Lithuania (care of the Franciscan Fathers, Church of the Resurrection, 1 Resurrection Road, Toronto, ON M9A 5G1) in her honour would be appreciated. Online condolences may be made through

Upcoming Events

November 2016 - January 2017

November 4, 2016
Faculty Research Day
Location: St. Michael's Hospital

November 5, 2016
Retina Case Conference Canada 2016

November 25, 2016
Visiting Professor Programme
Dr. Debra Goldstein
Location: KEI, 45 Brunswick Ave

December 2-3, 2016
Walter Wright Day

December 9, 2016
Visiting Professor Programme
Dr. Efrem Mandelcorn

December 16, 2016  (CANCELLED)
Visiting Professor Programme
Dr. Nasrin Tehrani

January 13, 2017
Visiting Professor Programme
Dr. Mitchell Weikert

January 20, 2017
Visiting Professor Programme
Dr. Fariba Nazemi

January 27, 2017
Visiting Professor Programme
Dr. Avi Wallerstein

Full Upcoming Calendar and Events

Invited Lectures & Visiting Professorships

September - October 2016

Birt C:
Teaching Rounds, Salvador Hospital, Santiago, Chile, October 21, 2016 (Visiting Professor)
- Glaucomatous vs. neuro ophthalmic optic neuropathy

DeAngelis D:
University of Ottawa, Department of Ophthalmology. Grand Rounds. September 21, 2016 (Visiting Professor)
- Management of Lid and Adnexal Trauma

Gupta N:
Glaucoma Research Society Meeting, Seoul, Korea, September 1, 2016
- Vascular Factors in Neurodegenerative Diseases and Glaucoma

Gupta N:
International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) 10th General Assembly, Durban, South Africa, October 28, 2016
- Challenges and Barriers in Implementing Evidence-Based Care of Diabetic Retinopathy in Canada and Other Developed Countries

Gupta N:
International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) 10th General Assembly, Durban, South Africa, October 29, 2016
- ICO International Guidelines for Glaucoma Care

Gupta N:
International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) 10th General Assembly, Durban, South Africa, October 30, 2016
- Glaucoma: New Data and Trends, Global Burden of Disease

Markowitz SN:
The University of Saskatchewan, Department of Ophthalmology, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. September 16, 2016. (Visiting Professor) 
- The State of the Art - Low Vision Rehabilitation.

Markowitz SN:
Vision Rehabilitation Educational Day, American Academy of Ophthalmology, Chicago, Illinois, USA, October 15, 2016 (Invited Lecture)
- Macular perimetry and scanning laser of ophthalmoscopy, is it really necessary?

Stein RM:
Symposium titled, Novel Technology in 2016: What's Available Around the World (But Not in the United States). American Academy of Ophthalmology. Chicago, Illinois, United States, Oct 17, 2016. (Invited Lecture)
- Topography-Guided PRK and Crosslinking in Ectatic Disease.

* To submit your invited lectures and visiting professorships for the upcoming newsletter, please email

Recent Publications

Recent publications by DOVS Faculty, Staff, Residents and Fellows

September - October 2016

Ahmed S, Khan Z, Si F, Mao A, Pan I, Yazdi F, Tsertsvadze A, Hutnik C, Moher D, Tingey D, Trope GE, Damji KF, Tarride JE, Goeree R, Hodge W. Summary of Glaucoma Diagnostic Testing Accuracy: An Evidence-Based Meta-Analysis. J Clin Med Res. 2016 Sep;8(9):641-9.
AlAli A, Bourgault S, Clark I, Lam WC. Exudative retinal detachment caused by a choroidal neovascular membrane in Hallermann-Streiff Syndrome. Retina Cases Brief Rep. 2016 Sep 19.
Berk TA, Yang PT, Chan CC. Prospective Comparative Analysis of 4 Different Intraocular Pressure Measurement Techniques and Their Effects on Pressure Readings. J Glaucoma. 2016 Oct;25(10):e897-e904.

Buys YM, Meier-Gibbons F. Could the use of microstents be cost-effective and save money for patients and health care systems compared with medications alone? Ocular Surgery News APAO Edition, October 2016. 

Campbell C, Beug S, Nickerson PE, Peng J, Mazerolle C, Bassett EA, Ringuette R, Jama FA, Morales C, Christ A, Wallace VA. Sortilin regulates sorting and secretion of Sonic hedgehog.   J Cell Sci. 2016 Oct 15;129(20):3832-3844.
Cheung CS, Noordeh N, Gottlieb CC. A national survey of Canadian ophthalmologists to determine awareness of published guidelines for the management of uveitis.  J Ophthalmic Inflamm Infect. 2016 Dec;6(1):38.
Choudhry N, Golding J, Rao RC.  In the Fold of a Macular Hole. Ophthalmology. 2016 Sep;123(9):1998.
Christakis PG, Kalenak JW, Tsai JC, Zurakowski D, Kammer JA, Harasymowycz PJ, Mura JJ, Cantor LB, Ahmed II. The Ahmed Versus Baerveldt Study: Five-Year Treatment Outcomes.  Ophthalmology. 2016 Oct;123(10):2093-102.
Elbaz U, Mireskandari K, Tehrani N, Shen C, Khan S, Luck S, Ali A.  Corneal Endothelial Cell Density in Children: Normative Data From Birth to Five Years Old.  Am J Ophthalmol. 2016 Oct 13. pii: S0002-9394(16)30499-8.
Gonzalez-Rodriguez JM, Trope GE, Drori-Wagschal L, Jinapriya D, Buys YM.  Comparison of trabeculectomy versus Ex-PRESS: 3-year follow-up.  Br J Ophthalmol. 2016 Sep;100(9):1269-73.

Isaac M, Mireskandari K, Tehrani N. Does Bevacizumab Alter Vascularization Potential in Retinopathy of Prematurity? Ophthalmology. 2016 Sep;123(9):2042-3.
Khuu LA, Tayyari F, Sivak JM, Flanagan JG, Singer S, Brent MH, Huang D, Tan O, Hudson C.  Aqueous humour concentrations of TGF-β, PLGF and FGF-1 and total retinal blood flow in patients with early non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy.  Acta Ophthalmol. 2016 Sep 28.
Kisilevsky E, Tarita-Nistor L, González EG, Mandelcorn MS, Brent MH, Markowitz SN, Steinbach MJ. Characteristics of the preferred retinal loci of better and worse seeing eyes of patients with a central scotoma.  Can J Ophthalmol. 2016 Oct;51(5):362-367.
Kletke S, Batmanabane V, Dai T, Vincent A, Li S, Gordon KA, Papsin BC, Cushing SL, Héon E. The combination of vestibular impairment and congenital sensorineural hearing loss predisposes patients to ocular anomalies, including Usher syndrome.  Clin Genet. 2016 Oct 15.
Lagali PS, Medina CF, Zhao BY, Yan K, Baker AN, Coupland SG, Tsilfidis C, Wallace VA, Picketts DJ.  Retinal interneuron survival requires non-cell-autonomous Atrx activity. Hum Mol Genet. 2016 Sep 4.
Lam CT, Trope GE, Buys YM. Effect of Head Position and Weight Loss on Intraocular Pressure in Obese Subjects.  J Glaucoma. 2016 Oct 14.
Le R, Yucel N, Khattak S, Yucel Y, Prud’homme G, Gupta N. Current Indications and Surgical Approaches to Corneal Transplants at the University of Toronto: A Clinical-Pathological Study. Can J Ophthalmol. Published online September 7th, 2016.

Lei S, Goltz HC, Sklar JC, Wong AM. Dataset of red light induced pupil constriction superimposed on post-illumination pupil response. Data Brief. 2016 Aug 4;8:1300-1302.
Livne-Bar I, Lam S, Chan D, Guo X, Askar I, Nahirnyj A, Flanagan JG, Sivak JM. Pharmacologic inhibition of reactive gliosis blocks TNF-α-mediated neuronal apoptosis. Cell Death Dis. 2016 Sep 29;7(9):e2386. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2016.277.
Loiseau B, Benedict D, Sibbald R, Raman SA, Loh LC, Dimaras H.  How can a Theory of Change framework be applied to short-term international volunteering?  Int Health. 2016 Sep;8(5):310-2. Review.
Mansour AM, Antonios RS, Ahmed II.  Central cortical cleanup and zonular deficiency. Clin Ophthalmol. 2016 Oct 4;10:1919-1923.
Micieli JA, Margolin EA. Paraneoplastic Optic Neuropathy Associated With Purkinje Cell Antibody-2 in a Patient With Small Cell Lung Cancer. J Neuroophthalmol. 2016 Oct 17.
Najem K, Margolin EA. A Special Case of Horner Syndrome.  JAMA Ophthalmol. 2016 Oct 1;134(10):1193-1194.
Olsen JB, Wong L, Deimling S, Miles A, Guo H, Li Y, Zhang Z, Greenblatt JF, Emili A, Tropepe V.  G9a and ZNF644 Physically Associate to Suppress Progenitor Gene Expression during Neurogenesis.  Stem Cell Reports. 2016 Sep 13;7(3):454-70.
Popovic M, Campos-Möller X, Schlenker MB, Ahmed II.  Efficacy and Safety of Femtosecond Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery Compared with Manual Cataract Surgery: A Meta-Analysis of 14 567 Eyes. Ophthalmology. 2016 Oct;123(10):2113-26.

Qaiser S, Limo A, Gichana J, Kimani K, Githanga J, Waweru W, Dimba EAO, Dimaras H.  Design and Implementation of the Retinoblastoma Collaborative Laboratory.  Ocul Oncol Pathol 2017;3:73-82. 2016 Oct 29 (online)                        

Shahidi AM, Hudson C, Tayyari F, Flanagan JG.  Retinal Oxygen Saturation in Patients with Primary Open-angle Glaucoma Using a Non-flash Hypespectral Camera.  Curr Eye Res. 2016 Sep 9:1-5.
Soliman SE, Dimaras H, Khetan V, Gardiner JA, Chan HS, Héon E, Gallie BL.  Prenatal versus Postnatal Screening for Familial Retinoblastoma.  Ophthalmology. 2016 Oct 1. 
Szigiato AA, Gilani F, Walsh MK, Mandelcorn ED, Muni RH. Induction of Macular Detachment for the Treatment of Persistent or Recurrent Idiopathic Macular Holes. Retina. 2016 Sep;36(9):1694-8.
Vold S, Ahmed II, Craven ER, Mattox C, Stamper R, Packer M, Brown RH, Ianchulev T; CyPass Study Group. Two-Year COMPASS Trial Results: Supraciliary Microstenting with Phacoemulsification in Patients with Open-Angle Glaucoma and Cataracts. Ophthalmology. 2016 Oct;123(10):2103-12.
Vold SD, Voskanyan L, Tetz M, Auffarth G, Masood I, Au L, Ahmed II, Saheb H. Newly Diagnosed Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma Randomized to 2 Trabecular Bypass Stents or Prostaglandin: Outcomes Through 36 Months.  Ophthalmol Ther. 2016 Sep 12.

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