About Us

About the COS

The Canadian Ophthalmological Society (COS) is the national, recognized authority on eye and vision care in Canada. As eye physicians and surgeons, we are committed to assuring the provision of optimal medical and surgical eye care for all Canadians by promoting excellence in ophthalmology and by providing services to support our members in practice. Our membership includes over 900 ophthalmologists and 200 ophthalmology residents. We work collaboratively with government, other national and international specialty societies, our academic communities (ACUPO), our provincial partners and affiliates, and other eye care professionals and patient groups to advocate for health policy in Canada in the area of eye and vision health. COS is an accredited, award-winning provider of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) through the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) and is an affiliate of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA).

Message from the President, Dr. Colin Mann (2020-2022)

Since its formation in 1937, the Canadian Ophthalmological Society (COS) has been the unified voice for ophthalmologists across Canada, guiding and supporting our members to strive for the highest educational and clinical standards in order to provide optimal evidence-based patient-centred care. Healthcare in Canada is a changing landscape, and we at COS continue to push forward in innovation and education to best serve our patients and the medical community. As leaders in this field, we understand the importance of having a unified voice. Indeed, it is essential as we face the challenges and opportunities related to healthcare in Canada. As a physician, we welcome you to join our society; not only will you contribute your expertise and
experience to ensure that we reflect the diversity of our specialty, but you will also enjoy the many professional and personal benefits of networking with your colleagues across the country. Your COS membership contributions will directly support the critical work being done to educate the public about eye health, to provide outstanding continuing professional development, to publish the Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology, and so much more. As a member of the public, you can count on the COS to be at the forefront of continuing professional development for Canadian ophthalmologists, and strong advocates for access to ophthalmic care across Canada.

In health,
Dr. Colin Mann
President of the Canadian Ophthalmological Society

What is Ophthalmology?

Ophthalmology is the branch of medicine that deals with the anatomy, physiology and diseases of the eye. All evaluations that purport to diagnose eye disease should be carried out by a physician. An ophthalmologist is a doctor of medicine who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the eye, in addition to diagnosing systemic disease that manifest in eye signs or symptoms. Since ophthalmologists perform operations on eyes, they are considered to be both surgical and medical specialists.

In fact, the only health professional trained both medically and surgically to treat eye disorders — especially the most serious eye diseases such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma — is an ophthalmologist.

Ophthalmologists offer a comprehensive approach to ocular symptoms and disease.  As well as diagnosing and treating ocular disease either by medical or surgical means, ophthalmologists offer comprehensive ocular-visual assessment, which may include the prescription of corrective lenses.

Learn more about the role of an ophthalmologist in your vision care team.

In Canada, graduates of medical school must complete an ophthalmology residency to become an ophthalmologist.  The residency lasts a minimum of five years after the MD degree.

Extensive surgical experience is incorporated into the last 24 months of training to become an ophthalmologist.  Many ophthalmologists continue their training for a further 12-24 months in a variety of subspecialties.

Historically, the practice of ophthalmology has encompassed all aspects of visual function in health and disease, including refraction, orthoptics, binocular vision and strabismus.  Medical and surgical treatment of disease involving the visual system and awareness of ocular manifestations of systemic disease are also an integral part of the practice of ophthalmology.

As a discipline, ophthalmology also applies to animal eyes, since the differences from human practice are surprisingly minor and are related mainly to variations in anatomy or prevalence as opposed to disease processes.

However, veterinary medicine is traditionally regulated separately in most countries, including Canada, resulting in few ophthalmologists treating both humans and animals.

Board of Directors

Yvonne Buys, MD

Immediate Past – President

Colin Mann, MD


Setareh Ziai, MD

Board Liaison, Resident and Young Ophthalmologist Affairs

Phil Hooper, MD

President – Elect

Mona Harissi-Dagher, MD

Chair, Annual Meeting Planning Committee

Jamie Taylor, MD


Ravi Dookeran, MD


Did you Know?

COS offers unique membership benefits, a leading-edge Annual Scientific Meeting & Exhibition, a diverse range of Continuing Professional Development services and an Awards program for outstanding achievement or research excellence.

2020 Annual Report

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