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History of the symposium

Past symposia


September 10-12, 2020
September 9-11, 2021
September 8-10, 2022


Symposium organizers

Symposium faculty

Faculty biographies

Ike K. Ahmed

Ike K. Ahmed, MD, FRCSC

Ike Ahmed is a fellowship-trained glaucoma, cataract, and anterior segment surgeon with a practice focus on the surgical management of glaucoma, complex cataract and intraocular lens complications. He is board certified in ophthalmology in Canada and the USA, and is an active member of numerous national and international societies.

Dr. Ahmed has become world renowned for his skills and groundbreaking work in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of highly complex eye diseases including glaucoma and surgical complications. He is recognized as being one of the most experienced complex eye surgeons in the world and has trained numerous surgeons in innovative surgical techniques. Furthermore, he has been at the leading edge of novel treatments for glaucoma, cataract and lens implant surgery. Patients are referred to him locally, nationally, and from around the world. He has been invited to perform surgery in 4 continents across the globe. In 2010, Dr. Ahmed was selected as one of Canada's "Top 40 Under 40" - a prestigious national award recognizing significant achievements at a young age. In 2014, Dr. Ahmed was selected to receive the prestigious Binkhorst medal at ASCRS, which has been awarded to the world's most prominent ophthalmologists whose careers have made significant contributions to the science and practice of ophthalmology. The American Glaucoma Society honoured him with the AGS Surgery Day Lecture, and the UKISCRS bestowed him with the Pearce Medal Lecture in 2015. In 2017 he awarded the "Innovator of the Year" by the Eye Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. Dr. Ahmed was recently recognized as the "3rd most influential ophthalmologist" in the world by the news magazine The Ophthalmologist.

Dr. Ahmed has a keen interest in the development of advanced microsurgical devices and techniques in glaucoma surgery and complicated cataract extraction, and is actively involved in research and medical education at a national and international level. He has received research grants to study glaucoma medications, glaucoma laser and surgical devices/techniques, angle closure glaucoma, anterior segment and retinal/optic nerve imaging in glaucoma, cataract surgical techniques and devices, and intraocular lens designs. Dr. Ahmed has designed innovative glaucoma diamond scalpels for surgery, microsurgical instrumentation, and devices, implants, and techniques for the management of the dislocated cataract, iris reconstruction, and glaucoma implant devices. He has done pioneering work in innovative glaucoma surgery, developing and coining the term "Micro-Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS)" as a new genre of surgical approaches and devices. He also performed the first laser cataract surgery in Canada. As a result of his innovative expertise, Dr. Ahmed has been asked to consult for a variety of companies and manufacturers, especially pertaining to the development of new devices and technologies.

He founded and directs The Toronto Cataract Course and the COS Surgical Teaching Series, as well as a number of AAO and ASCRS Courses. He directed the third International Congress on Glaucoma Surgery in May 2006 in Toronto. He sits on the editorial boards of Ophthalmology, Ophthalmology-Glaucoma, Journal of Glaucoma, Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology, EyeNet, Ocular Surgery News, Cataract and Refractive Surgery Today, and is a reviewer for numerous journals. In 2018 he was appointed as the Chief Medical Editor of Glaucoma Today.

Dr. Ahmed has published over 150 peer-reviewed papers, and has published books on Glaucoma Surgery and Intraocular Lens Surgery. He has won five film festival awards, ten best papers of session, and a poster award at ASCRS, as well as an ESCRS first place video award and AAO "Best of Show" award. He has given over 1000 scientific presentations thus far in his career, including 40 visiting professor's lectures around the world.

He is currently an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, and a Clinical Professor at the University of Utah. He is the Director of the Glaucoma and Advanced Anterior Segment Surgery (GAASS) fellowship at the University of Toronto, and Director of Research at the Kensington Eye Institute, University of Toronto. He has trained glaucoma specialists who are now practicing in Canada and around the world, as well as residents and medical students. Dr. Ahmed has a large tertiary glaucoma/cataract practice at Prism Eye Institute (www.prismeyeinstitute.com) in the Greater Toronto Area, and primarily performs surgery at Trillium Health Partners, Mississauga, Ontario, the Kensington Eye Institute, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, and TLC Mississauga.

Financial disclosure: Dr. Ahmed has/had an affiliation (financial or otherwise) with a for-profit and/or not-for-profit organization:

  1. Aequus
  2. Aerie Pharmaceuticals
  3. Alcon
  4. Allergan
  5. ArcScan
  6. Bausch + Lomb
  7. Beaver Visitec
  8. Camras Vision
  9. Carl Zeiss Meditec
  10. CorNeat Vision
  11. Ellex
  12. ElutiMed
  13. Equinox
  14. Genentech
  15. Glaukos
  16. Gore
  17. Iantech
  18. InjectSense
  1. Iridex
  2. iStar
  3. Ivantis
  4. Johnson & Johnson Vision
  5. KeLoTec
  6. LayerBio
  7. Leica Microsystems
  8. MicroOptx
  9. New World Medical
  10. Omega Ophthalmics
  11. PolyActiva
  12. Sanoculis
  13. Santen
  14. Science Based Health
  15. Sight Sciences
  16. Stroma
  17. TrueVision
  18. Vizzario

Catherine Birt

Catherine Birt, MA, MD, FRCSC

Dr. Birt did her master of arts degree, medical school training and residency at the University of Toronto. Her glaucoma fellowship was at the Kresge Eye Institute, Wayne State University, Detroit. She was the director of the Undergraduate Program of the Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences at the University of Toronto from 1996 - 2006, and more recently has been the President of the Canadian Glaucoma Society. She has received the AAO Achievement Award, and several teaching awards from the University of Toronto, most recently the Dr William Dixon Sunnybrook Surgical Teaching Award.

Her research interests involve examining the treatment of glaucoma and attempting to find better alternatives, in investigating reasons for treatment failure and the opportunities to ameliorate such factors. Recent work has examined the outcome of selective laser trabeculoplasty in several distinct patient populations, and a recent study, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, has reported on the best treatment option for patients who have already had one complete laser treatment. She has received 11 peer-reviewed research grants, and published 54 papers in peer-reviewed journals.

Financial disclosure: Dr. Birt has/had an affiliation (financial or otherwise) with a for-profit and/or not-for-profit organization:

  1. Canadian Glaucoma Society
  2. Glaucoma Research Society of Canada

Balwantray Chauhan

Balwantray Chauhan, PhD

Balwantray Chauhan is Mathers professor and research director of ophthalmology and visual sciences, professor of physiology and biophysics and professor of medical neurosciences at Dalhousie University. He obtained his PhD at the University of Wales, Cardiff, UK, and his postdoctoral training at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, under Dr. Stephen Drance.

Dr. Chauhan's clinical research interests centre on changes in the visual field and optic nerve head in glaucoma. He has devised new methods for detecting glaucoma progression and conducted research leading to their translation to clinical practice. Key contributions in imaging include the Topographical Change Analysis (TCA), used for identifying changes in the optic nerve and on the acquisition and analysis of anatomically and geometrically accurate data from the optic nerve. Dr. Chauhan is Principal Investigator of the Canadian Glaucoma Study, a multi-centre study on the risk factors for the progression of open-angle glaucoma.

He also conducts research with experimental models of optic nerve damage. Areas of activity include studies of neuron-glia interaction in the retina and optic nerve, in vivo structural and functional imaging of retinal ganglion cells and neuroprotection. This research is conducted in the Retina and Optic Nerve Research Laboratory, a multidisciplinary facility he was instrumental in establishing.

Dr. Chauhan has received numerous awards and recognitions including the senior Alcon Research Institute Award, the Gold Fellow of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, and the Secretariat Award of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. He is President of the Glaucoma Research Society. His research is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, National Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Atlantic Innovation Fund and other public and private sector agencies.

Financial disclosure: Dr. Chauhan has/had an affiliation (financial or otherwise) with a for-profit and/or not-for-profit organization:

  1. Allergan
  2. CenterVue
  3. Heidelberg Engineering
  4. Santen
  5. TopCon

Andrew Crichton

Andrew Crichton, MD, FRCSC

Dr. Crichton is a clinical professor of surgery at the University of Calgary. After graduating from medical school at the University of British Columbia, he did his ophthalmology residency in Toronto and his glaucoma fellowship in Vancouver with Dr. Stephen Drance and Dr. Gordon Douglas. He is currently, acting chief for the Division of Ophthalmology at the Department of Surgery. He has authored/co-authored over 50 journal articles. Dr. Crichton is interested in virtually all aspects of glaucoma.

Financial disclosure: Dr. Crichton has/had an affiliation (financial or otherwise) with a for-profit and/or not-for-profit organization:

  1. Aerie Pharma
  2. Alcon Canada
  3. Allergan Inc.
  4. Bausch + Lomb
  5. CADTH
  6. Santen Inc.
  7. Thea Pharma

Paul Harasymowycz

Paul Harasymowycz, MD, FRCSC

Dr. Harasymowycz is chief of glaucoma at the Université de Montréal where, since 2011, he has been a clinician and researcher at the Maisonneuve-Rosemont hospital and the Guy-Bernier research centre. He is the medical director of the Bellevue Ophthalmology Clinics, the Montréal Glaucoma Institute, and the Quebec Glaucoma Foundation, which seeks to promote research on glaucoma in Quebec, increase public awareness of the disease, and educate people who suffer from the illness.

Dr. Harasymowycz's research concentrates on glaucoma screening, new diagnostic technologies, and on new surgical treatments for glaucoma and for cataracts. He has a passion for teaching students, residents, and glaucoma fellows and is often sought out to present and teach surgical techniques at national and international congresses.

He is a member of the glaucoma committee of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS). He has published over 50 articles in medical peer-reviewed journals and book chapters on glaucoma.

Harry A. Quigley

Harry A. Quigley, MD

Dr. Quigley was born in St. Louis and is a graduate of Harvard College and Johns Hopkins Medical School (Alpha Omega Alpha). After ophthalmic residency at the Wilmer Institute, he did a fellowship with Douglas Anderson at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Miami. He became the A. Edward Maumenee Professor of Ophthalmology in 1994, directing both the Glaucoma Center of Excellence and, until 2011, the Dana Center for Preventive Ophthalmology at Wilmer. He was a founding member of the American Glaucoma Society, serving for 8 years as its Secretary. He was elected to 5 year terms as chief executive officer of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) and Editor-in-Chief of Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science.

He has published over 400 peer-reviewed articles, and his reports are the most cited in the ophthalmic literature over the last 30 years (Archives of Ophthalmology, 2007; h-index=121, i10-index=371, with 65,000 citations). He has been honored with the Friedenwald, Joanne Angle and Epstein Mentoring Awards by ARVO, the Doyne Medal by the Oxford Ophthalmological Congress, the Leslie Dana Medal by the St. Louis Society for the Blind, and by research awards from Research to Prevent Blindness, the Alcon Research Award (twice), the European Society of Ophthalmology (Prix Jules Francois), the Chicago Ophthalmological Society (best teacher), Ophthalmological Society of Scotland (Mackenzie Medal), Australian Society of Ophthalmology (Gregg Medal), Irish Ophthalmological Society (Mooney Medal), and the New York Academy of Sciences (Lewis Rudin Prize). He is an ARVO Gold Fellow and a Life Achievement Honor Awardee of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. He has given 45 named lectures, including the 66th Edward Jackson Lecture (AAO).

Dr. Quigley has trained 65 glaucoma clinician--scientists who lead glaucoma centers in the U.S. and worldwide. His research has improved the early diagnosis of glaucoma and has developed instruments and techniques to identify glaucoma damage better. His investigations found that early glaucoma damage preceded existing detection methods. He was the first to report on long-term success with laser iridotomy. His suturing technique for trabeculectomy has been widely adopted.

He has participated in pioneering studies of the epidemiology, morbidity and progression rate of glaucoma and other eye disease in American, African, Asian, and Hispanic populations, serving as a consultant to the World Health Organization. He conceptualized new roles for iris and choroidal volume change as risk factors in angle closure glaucoma. In the laboratory, he has demonstrated successful gene therapy to protect retinal ganglion cells from experimental glaucoma, and developed glaucoma models in monkeys, rats and mice.

Dr. Quigley is an advocate of natural gardening techniques in ecorestoration projects in Baltimore, developing Poplar Hill Park (see www.waytogarden.net). He is a Horticultural Assistant at the National Aquarium, Baltimore. His son, David, is on the University of California San Francisco faculty in Oncology and Epidemiology as a bioinformatics specialist in cancer research. His daughter, Erica, is a landscape architect, designing outdoor play spaces. He loves being asked about his 2 grand-daughters.

Financial disclosure: Dr. Quigley has/had an affiliation (financial or otherwise) with a for-profit and/or not-for-profit organization:

  1. Graybug Vision
  2. Gore
  3. Heidelberg Instruments
  4. IDx
  5. Kali Care
  6. National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  7. Sensimed

Hady Saheb

Hady Saheb, MD, MPH, FRCSC, DABO

Dr. Saheb is currently assistant professor of ophthalmology and director of glaucoma fellowship and resident research at McGill University. He is also chair of the Canadian Glaucoma Society MIGS Advisory Committee and a member of the Meeting Planning Committee for the Canadian Glaucoma Society.

Dr. Saheb earned his medical degree and completed his residency at McGill University. He was then a glaucoma fellow at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, and subsequently completed a second fellowship in Novel Glaucoma Surgical Devices and Complex Anterior Segment Surgery with Dr Ike Ahmed at the University of Toronto. He also completed a master's in public health at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, with an interest in Clinical Trials and Health Leadership. Dr. Saheb has received several awards, published peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, and spoken at multiple national and international meetings.

Financial disclosure: Dr. Saheb has/had an affiliation (financial or otherwise) with a for-profit and/or not-for-profit organization:

  1. Aerie
  2. Alcon
  3. Allergan
  4. Bausch
  5. Glaukos
  6. Ivantis
  7. Johnson & Johnson
  8. Labtician Thea
  9. Novartis

Devesh Varma

Devesh Varma, MD, BEng

Dr. Varma is recognized across Canada as a leader in ophthalmology. He specializes in the full range of glaucoma surgery performing a full spectrum of complex as well as newer minimally invasive procedures. In addition to routine and refractive cataract surgery, he has particular expertise in high risk cataracts, the repair of complications from cataract surgery and reconstruction of the front portion of the eye. He graduated first in his class in Engineering at Dalhousie University, then completed his medical school in Halifax, a residency in ophthalmology in Saskatoon and a fellowship in glaucoma and advanced anterior segment surgery at the University of Toronto under Dr. Ike Ahmed.

In 2010, Dr. Varma joined the Prism Eye Institute - a large multidisciplinary practice with locations in Mississauga and Brampton where he is now a senior partner. He has served over 100,000 patients, performed over 7,000 surgeries and over 15,000 laser procedures. Dr. Varma operates at Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga, Kensington Eye Institute and TLC Mississauga.

Dr. Varma is an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of Toronto, where he leads undergraduate ophthalmology teaching at the Mississauga campus, teaches residents, fellows and delivers a wide variety of continuing education programs for practicing physicians. He also chairs the Emerging Leaders Program for Ophthalmologists at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management. Dr. Varma actively conducts research and has special interests in angle closure glaucoma and new technologies, having authored over 20 publications and delivered over 100 presentations at national and international conferences.

Financial disclosure: Dr. Varma has/had an affiliation (financial or otherwise) with a for-profit and/or not-for-profit organization:

  1. Alcon
  2. Allergan
  3. Glaukos
  4. Johnson & Johnson Vision
  5. Santen