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Volume 23, Number 4  |  September 2015

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Dr. Sherif El-Defrawy
Message from the Chair

As is usual in academic settings, it has been a summer of endings and beginnings for us in the department. June saw the departure of our graduating fellows and residents. We had a lovely graduation evening and a list of the awards presented can be found in the body of this newsletter. 
In July, DOVS welcomed a new group of fellows—27 in total—across a variety of fellowships. The new fellows were welcomed on July 30th at the Faculty Club, and offered a great opportunity to meet and mingle with faculty. We hope to promote the Fellow Welcome more strongly next year to ensure we can get all the faculty involved with fellowship training to attend. 
July also saw our new cohort of PGY2 residents enter the clinics and begin their core ophthalmology training years while our PGY1s began their medical and surgical rotations.
I hope the summer has offered an opportunity for some rest and relaxation and time with loved ones. Enjoy the last few days of summer
  and I look forward to seeing everyone once again with the start of the academic year now that September is here.

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


Featured in this issue:

Spotlight on our Faculty

Behind the Science: DOVS researcher

Professor Moshe Eizenman
Originally from Tel-Aviv, Israel, Professor Moshe Eizenman earned a BSc from the University of Toronto in engineering science, with a subspecialty in electrical engineering. He then completed his Masters and PhD in electrical and biomedical engineering at U of T before joining the Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences and the Institute of Biomedical Engineering. Professor Eizenman is based in the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering.
Q&A with Professor Eizenman:

How would you describe the main theme of your research?

I am focused on the development of advanced eye-tracking technologies that support studies of the oculomotor and visual systems in humans. For example, to study eye movements and eye misalignment in babies, I developed eye-tracking systems that do not require calibration procedures so that eye movements can be measured with minimal subject cooperation. A variant of this technology was used recently by Dr. Steinbach’s group at the Toronto Western Hospital to measure preferred retinal locations in patients with age-related macular degeneration. As these patients cannot be tested with eye-tracking systems that require calibration procedures, the technology that I developed allowed for the first time measurements of preferred retinal locations in both eyes under binocular viewing conditions.
In the last few years I have expanded the scope of my research by developing technologies and methods to measure and monitor cognitive and neuropsychiatric functions in humans using analysis of eye movements.
How are you doing this?
We developed a series of tests that are based on the presentation of slides with several discrete images and analysis of the patient’s visual scanning patterns when these images are viewed.  The visual scanning patterns provide continuous records of regions in the images that are considered relevant by the subject. As these visual scanning patterns are controlled by both low-level perception processes (e.g., temporal and spatial characteristics of the visual stimuli) and high-level cognitive processes (e.g., memories, emotions, goals etc.), differences between visual scanning patterns of controls and patients can be used for diagnosis and evaluation of treatment in patients with cognitive and psychiatric disorders.

Read more


Graduating Residents

Congratulations to our graduated Residents:

Graham Belovay
Theodore Jonathan Christakis
Natasha Dang
Joshua Solomon Manusow
Nataly Pesin
Matthew Bryan Schlenker
Mahmood Showail
Marcela Hermina Strungaru


1st Annual Chief Residents' BBQ to welcome PGY1s

Residents gathered at Ashbridges Bay on a fine sunny summer afternoon to welcome the new members of the residency body.  BBQ and volleyball were the highlights of the outing

Fellows Reception

On the evening of July 30, 2015, Dr. Asim Ali, Fellowship Director for the Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences welcomed the new and returning Fellows at a reception held at the U of T Faculty club. The event hosted 24 Fellows and Preceptors from various sub-specialties. The evening was enjoyed by all attendees. Dr. Ali would also like to formally welcome those Fellows who were unable to attend the event.


Henry Farrugia visits Yeni Yücel's lab

“My inspiration to support Dr.  Yücel’s research is because I had a detached retina and am blind In one eye”

Mr. Henry Farrugia, a longtime supporter of the Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences, established the Henry Farrugia Ophthalmic Research fund and furthered the research of Dr. Yeni
Yücel and his team, enabling their groundbreaking work  to understand and treat blinding eye diseases.
On his first visit and tour of Dr.
Yücel’s new lab at SMH , Mr. Farrugia met undergraduate students
Emily Mathieu and Shireen Khattak who eagerly explained their research projects to him.
“We are developing methods to measure fluid drainage out of the eye via 3 routes: conventional, unconventional, and the recently described “uveolymphatic” pathway.  Using the first in vivo photoacoustic tomography system in Canada, nano-infrared tracers injected into the eye can be dynamically visualized.  This unique platform will allow testing of novel glaucoma drugs that aim to lower IOP in order to prevent blindness from glaucoma.  In addition, this Canada innovation Foundation-awarded platform is allowing work to map the communication pathways between the brain’s cerebrospinal fluid and the eye. 
This work is highly relevant to understanding impaired vision in astronauts with intracranial pressure syndrome, recently described during and after manned space missions.  As a result  Dr. Yucel is an invited speaker at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas on October 2, 2015”.
Mr. Farrugia concluded his visit by saying,  “I am most impressed by the students and the research and all that is being done to prevent blindness”.
With  Mr. Farrugia’s invaluable support, Dr.
Yücel and his team  are excited to continue this important  work using non-invasive techniques and exploring  novel treatments in the fight against blindness.
Shireen Khattak, Henry Farrugia
Yeni Yücel, Henry Farrugia, Emily Mathieu

Upcoming Events

September 2015

September 10, 2015
CANCELLED - Optics (Visiting Professor Rounds)
Dr. Douglas Koch
September 11-13, 2015
Resident Retreat
Halliburton, Ontario
Full Upcoming Calendar and Events

Resident Retreat

Staff, fellows, and clinic coordinators, please mark your calendars, the annual resident retreat has been booked for September 11th to 13th.   During the academic year, residents are spread across a number of hospitals across the city, so this event has really helped bring the residents together as a cohesive group. This annual retreat was started 4 years ago, and has quickly become the most anticipated event for the resident body.  Thanks to the department for their generous support for this event!

Patrick Yang, Co-Chief Resident

Honours and Awards

Dr. Neeru Gupta elected to the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis (AOI)

Dr. Neeru Gupta is the first Canadian woman to be elected to the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis,  an international academic organization regarded as the most prestigious in ophthalmology. It limits active membership to 73 individuals, with some of the most acclaimed ophthalmologists in the world. It is committed to excellence in education, research and culturally appropriate medical services to preserve and restore vision for people of the world. Candidates who meet the Academia’s high standards of scholarly excellence are formally nominated and elected by other members. Members of the AOI are expected to actively engage in improving world ophthalmology.
Dr. Neeru Gupta is also appointed to the Board of Governors of the World Glaucoma Association.

Dr. Elise Héon awarded the Franceschetti Medal by the International Society of Genetic Eye Disease and Retinoblastoma

Dr. Elise Héon has been awarded the Franceschetti Medal by the International Society of Genetic Eye Disease and Retinoblastoma (ISGEDR). The Franceschetti Medal is the highest tribute given to an outstanding member of ISGEDR or a prominent member of the Ophthalmic Genetics community for a lifetime of achievement in the study of genetic eye diseases and/or service to the Society. This is a very special recognition of Elise's many contributions to ocular genetics not only from a scientific standpoint, but also to the many patients whom she serves and cares deeply about.

Dr. Edward Moss awarded the Stephen Drance Award for Excellence in Research by Canadian Glaucoma Society

On June 21, 2015, TWH Glaucoma fellow Edward Moss was awarded  the Stephen Drance award for excellence in research by the Canadian Glaucoma Society for his presentation entitled: A flow test to predict early hypotony and hypertensive phase following Ahmed glaucoma valve surgical implantation.

Dr. Efrem Mandelcorn receives the Wightman-Berris Academy Award for Excellence in Individual Teaching in Postgraduate Medicine

Dr. Mandelcorn was recognized for excellence in surgical and medical teaching in the postgraduate program.

Congratulations Efrem!


Gordon Squires receives 2015 Dean's Alumni Volunteerism Award

Dr. Gordon Squires was recently awarded the 2015 Dean’s Alumni Volunteerism Award.
This award recognizes an alumnus who has provided extraordinary volunteer service and demonstrating leadership through local or global work. Recipients have enriched the lives of others through their generous gifts of time and talent and through their involvement with the Faculty of Medicine or through civic, charitable and social causes beyond the scope of their clinical or academic appointments.  The selection committee, comprised of faculty, students, staff and alumni, enthusiastically agreed that Gord’s exceptional generosity of time and commitment aiding the visually impaired in developing countries is greatly deserving of such an award.
Dr. Squires has had a dramatic impact on patients as well as physicians through his volunteerism. He will receive this Award from Dean Young at the Dean’s Honor Roll Lunch on November 5th, 2015.

Resident and Fellow Graduation and Awards


CHIEF RESIDENT AWARD  -  Joshua Manuow, Matthew Schlenker
  • Undergraduate Teaching  -  Filiberto Altomare
  • Postgraduate Teaching  -   David Yan
  • Fellowship Teaching  -  David Wong

TORIC AWARDS              

Feldman / Trope / Wong TORIC Award -  Sherif El-Defrawy, Allan Slomovic

Top TORIC Teachers Award  - 
Kashif Baig, Hall Chew, Sherif El-Defrawy, William Hodge, Stephen Kraft, Efrem Mandelcorn, Gary Miller, Neera Singal, Allan Slomovic, Graham Trope, Agnes Wong
  • Best Student Prize  -  Michael Mak
  • Alumni Prize  -  Panos Christakis
  • John Gaby Prize  - Talal Alabduljailil
  • Best Poster Award  -  Nevena Vicic
  • HSC The Chan Award for Excellence in Paediatric Ophthalmology - Panos Christakis
  • HSC - Dr. Ray Buncic Humanitarian Award  -  N/A
  • SMH - R Gordon Kelly Award  -  Alexander Kaplan
  • SMH  - Dr. Michael Shea Award  -  Hannah Chiu
  • MSH - Dr. Sigmund Vaile Award  -  Joshua Manusow
  • SH - Dr. John Speakman Award  -  Graham Belovay
  • TWH - Lim Family Memorial Award  -  Randall Ulate
  • KEI - KEI Award -  Theodore Christakis
  • Silver Needle Award  -  Sherif El-Defrawy
  • Resident Teaching Award  -  Edward Margolin
  • J.S. Crawford Teaching Award  -  Efrem Mandelcorn
  • Millennium Award  -  Shaun Singer
  • J. D. Morin Award  -  Hall Chew
  • Golden Suture Award  -  Nancy Tucker


Congratulations to our Undergraduate Programme Director, Dr. Daniel Weisbrod and his family, on the birth of their newborn son. Andrew Weisbrod was born on July 27 at Sunnybrook Hospital weighing 7 lbs 9 oz. With 4 children under 5, Dr. Weisbrod comes to work to get a bit of rest.

Recent Publications

Recent publications by DOVS Faculty, Staff, Residents and Fellows

June-August 2015

Abou El Hassan M, Huang K, Eswara MB, Zhao M, Song L, Yu T, Liu Y, Liu JC, McCurdy S, Ma A, Wither J, Jin J, Zacksenhaus E, Wrana JL, Bremner R. Cancer cells hijack PRC2 to modify multiple cytokine pathways. PLoS One. 2015;10:e0126466.

Astudillo PP, Cotesta M, Schofield J, Kraft S, Mireskandari K. The effect of achieving immediate target angle on success of strabismus surgery in children. Am J Ophthalmol. 2015 Jul 22.

Banerjee P, Harada H, Tassel NG, Charish J Goldschneider D, Wallace VA, Sugita S, Mehlen P, Monnier PP. Y-secreatase and LARG mediate distinct RGMa activities to control appropriate layer targeting within the optic tectum. Cell Death Differ. 2015 Aug 21.

Basilious A, Cheng J, Buys YM. Comparison of glaucoma knowledge and referral practices among family physicians with ophthalmologists' expectations. Can J Ophthalmol. 2015;50:202-8.

Belliveau MJ, Alkhotani A, Ali A. Moniliform blepharosis of lipoid proteinosis. JAMA Ophthalmol, 2015 Jul 9;133:e150688.

Belovay GW, Alabduljalil T, Pavlin CJ, Hamel P, Ali A. Plateau iris in children. J AAPOS 2015;19:377-9.
Chan AT, Ulate R, Goldich Y, Rootman DS, Chan CC. Terrien marginal degeneration: Clinical characteristics and outcomes. Am J Ophthalmol. 2015 Jul 22.

Chang DF, Braga-Mele R, Henderson BA, Mamalis N, Vasavada A, ASCRS Cataract Clinical Committee. Antibiotic prophylaxis of postoperative endophthalmitis after cataract surgery: Results of the 2014 ASCRS member survey. J Cataract Refrac Surg. 2015;41:1300-5.

Chiu HH, Dimaras H, Downie R, Gallie B. Breaking down barriers to communicating complex retinoblastoma information: can graphics be the solution? Can J Ophthalmol. 2015;50:230-5.

Freund KB, Korobelnik JF, Devenyi R, Framme C, Galic J, Herbert E, Hoerauf H, Lanzetta P, Michels S, Mitchell P, Mones J, Regillo C, Tadayoni R, Talks J, Wolf S. Treat-and-extend regimens with anti-VEGF agents in retinal diseases: A literature review and consensus recommendations. Retina. 2015;35:1489-506.

Hathibelagal AR, Leat SJ, Irving EL, Nandakumar K, Eizenman M. Measuring infant visual acuity with gaze tracker monitored visual fixation. Optom Vis Sci. 2015;92:823-33.

Hill JA, Lee SY, Njambi L, Corson TW, Dimaras H. Cancer genetics education in a low- to middle-income country: evaluation of an interactive workshop for clinicians in kenya. PLoS One. 2015 Jun 2.

Kohl S, Zobor D, Chiang WC, Weisschuh N, Staller J, Menendez IG, Chang S, Beck SC, Garcia Garrido M, Sothilingam V, Seeliger MW, Stanzial F, Benedicenti F, Inzana F, Heon E, Vincent A, Beis J, Strom TM, Rudolph G, Roosing S, Hollander AI, Cremers FP, Lopez I, Ren H, Moore AT, Webster AR, Michaelides M, Keonekoop RK, Zrenner E, Kaugman RJ, Tsang SH, Wissinger B, Lin JH. Mutations in the unfolded protein response regulator ATF6 cause the cone dysfunction disorder achromatopsia. Nat Genet. 2015;47:757-65.

Lam WC, Albiani DA, Yoganathan P, Chen JC, Kherani A, Maberley DA, Oliver A, Rabinovitch T, Sheidow TG, Tourville E, Wittenberg LA, Sigouin C, Baptiste DC. Real-world assessment of intravitreal dexamethasone implant (0.7 mg) in patients with macular edema: the CHROME study. Clin Ophthalmol. 2015;9:1255-68.

Lei S, Lam WC. Efficacy and safety of dexamethasone intravitreal implant for refractory macular edema in children. Can J Ophthalmol. 2015;50:236-41.

McAlister C. Breaking the silence of the switch--Increasing transparency about trainee participation in surgery. N Eng J Med. 2015;372:2477-9.

McAlister C, Braga-Mele R, El-Defrawy S, Hillson T. An ophthalmology code of ethics in Canada: enhancing our practice patterns. Can J Ophthalmol 2015;50:253-4.

McAlister CN, Ahmed II. Noninsured services provided with insured cataract surgery in Canada: ensuring transparent and fair treatment for patients. CMAJ. 2015 Jun 1.

Micieli JA, Derkatch S, Pereira VM, Margolin EA. Development of dural arteriovenous fistulas after cerebral venous sinus thrombosis. J Neuroophthalmol. 2015 Jul 24.

Ngo CS, Araya MP, Kraft SP. Cyclic strabismus in adults. J AAPOS 2015;19:279-281.

Ngo CS, Smith D, Kraft SP. The accuracy of anterior segment optical coherence tomography (AS-OCT) in localizing extraocular rectus muscles insertions. J AAPOS 2015;19:233-6.

Schlenker MB, Thiruchelvam D, Redelmeier DA. Intravitreal anti-vascular endothelial growth factor treatment and the risk of thromboembolism. Am J Ophthalmol. 2015 Jun 23.

Sheikholeslami P, Muirhead B, Baek DS, Wang H, Zhao X, Sivakumaran D, Boyd S, Sheardown H, Hoare T. Hydrophobically-modified poly(vinyl pyrrolidone) as a physically-associative, shear-responsive ophthalmic hydrogel. Exp Eye Res. 2015;137:18-31

Sheybani A, Reitsamer H, Ahmed II. Fluid dynamics of a novel micro-fistula implant for the surgical treatment of glaucoma. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2015;56:4789-95.

Sklar JC, Goltz HC, Gane L, Wong AM. Adaptation to laterally displacing prisms in anisometropic amblyopia. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2015;56:3699-708.

Squissato V, Schiff J, Chan CC. Intravenous immunoglobulin for antibody-mediated keratolimbal allograft rejection. BMJ Case Rep. 2015 Jun 25.

Squissato V, Yucel YH, Richardson SE, Alkhotani A, Wong DT, Nijhawan N, Chan CC. Colletotrichum truncatum species complex: Treatment considerations and review of the literature for an unusual pathogen causing fungal keratitis and endophthalmitis. Med Mycol Case Rep. 2015;9:1-6.

Tarita-Nistor L, Eizenman M, Landon-Brace N, Markowitz SN, Steinbach MJ, Gonzalez EG. Identifying absolute preferred retinal locations during binocular viewing. Optom Vis Sci. 2015;92:863-72.

Tsirlin I, Colpa L, Goltz HC, Wong AM. Behavioral training as new treatment for adult amblyopia: A meta-analysis and systematic review. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2015;56:4061-75.

Yang Y, Christakis T, Mireskandari K. Acute conjunctivitis and corneal foreign bodies secondary to tarantula hairs. CMAJ 2015 Aug 17.

Yucel YH, Gupta N. A framework to explore the visual brain in glaucoma with lessons from models and man. Exp Eye Res. 2015; Jul 11.

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