In this issue

Update from Dr. Paul Rafuse, COS President
I believe one of the more important functions of the COS is that of liaison with our medical colleagues. We must stay connected with the rest of medicine.

We have a strong relationship with our affiliated ophthalmological subspecialty and provincial or regional societies, many of which comprise COS members. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) reserves a non-voting seat for the COS on their council and this has provided opportunities to glimpse issues affecting ophthalmology in the United States. At the last annual AAO meeting in Chicago, I was given the floor to update for them the state of eye care in Canada. There is much we can learn from each other.

It is more critical to remain conversant with our medical and surgical colleagues outside our specialty. It is easy to become insular and isolated from the rest of medicine. Our presence in the hospitals is diminishing because of the increasingly ambulatory and out-patient nature of our work. We don't admit many patients any more. Many of us work outside the hospital walls altogether, and we may only visit once a week for the use of the operating room. Some of us do all our work now in free-standing facilities.

The obvious link we have with other doctors is our patients. However, we can't simply depend on our patients to let them know how wonderful that cataract operation was. We can communicate the significance of our work by getting more involved with their education. The undergraduate medical school curricula don't all have mandatory rotations in ophthalmology, making our specialty a mystery to many graduating doctors. We can lobby the curriculum committees and we can encourage off-service resident rotations. As a proposed new initiative at the upcoming COS annual meeting in Halifax, we are considering offering an eye symposium for family practitioners.

This past August, I participated in the meeting of the CMA General Council in Calgary by making a motion that "The CMA support the creation of provincial/territorial councils on eye health." The intent of the motion was that we, and a selection of our medical and surgical colleagues, as well as optometry, collaborate on eye care related issues. It was tremendously gratifying to see this motion pass without a single dissenting voice. Collaborations, such as these, will secure our position as central to the greater medical community.

The CMA, as part of its disposition process for motions passed at General Council, is working with COS on a number of initiatives, including writing tailored letters to all of the provincial and territorial ministries of health to signal its support for the establishment of eye heath councils in each province. Expanded scopes of practice and collaborative care will also be the primary themes of the February 2014 Specialist Forum which brings together 60 national specialty societies, including COS. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Jennifer Brunet-Colvey at [email protected]

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Update from Jennifer Brunet-Colvey, Executive Director/CEO

2013/2014 COS Board of Directors

We are very pleased to announce the 2013/2014 COS Board of Directors:

President: Dr. Paul Rafuse
President-Elect: Dr. Allan Slomovic
Treasurer: Dr. Geoff Williams
Secretary: Dr. James (Jim) Whelan
Chair, Council on Provincial Affairs: Dr. Andrew Budning
Chair, Council on CPD/Annual Meeting Planning Committee: Dr. Yvonne Buys
Chair, Resident Affairs: Dr. Mona Harissi-Dagher
Executive Director/CEO: Jennifer Brunet-Colvey

Membership survey

Thank you to all of those who completed the membership survey. Your feedback and comments will help to set the future direction of the COS. The society is undertaking a strategic planning process this year and the results of the membership survey will inform COS' 5-year Strategic Plan.

Wait Time Alliance

The Wait Time Alliance (WTA) released its report card in June. Despite many good intentions and efforts, Canadians are still waiting too long to access health care. In many regions and in many medical specialties and practices, no substantial or sustained progress in reducing waits has been achieved in recent years.

Structural change in the Canadian health care system is long overdue if this stagnation is to be overcome. The 2013 report card of the WTA contains three sections:

  1. Grading Canadians' timely access to care
  2. Grading provincial wait-time websites
  3. Making structural changes to sustain decreases in wait times

For more information, please consult the report.

New Canada Not-For-Profit Corporations Act

The Canada Not-For-Profit Corporations Act (CNCA) received Royal Ascent on June 23, 2009 and it was called into force on October 17, 2011. The new Act establishes a new legal framework for not-for-profit governance and requires all federal not-for-profits to be compliant within three years of the Act coming into force. As a result, COS must review/revise its bylaws to ensure compliance under the new Act by October 17, 2014. New COS bylaws will be presented to the COS membership in the spring of 2014 and a motion to approve the new bylaws will be passed at the June 2014 Annual General Meeting in Halifax.

Staffing news

Inika Anderson, manager of CPD, has accepted a position with the Canadian Bar Association. Inika celebrated her 5th anniversary with the COS on September 2. We are very grateful to Inika for all of her contributions to COS over the past 5 years and would like to wish her continued success always in all of her future endeavours.
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Membership news

2014 COS Membership Renewal

Membership renewals for 2014 were sent to you by email last month or you may simply click here to renew online now.

Members who have yet to provide COS with an email address can contact Rita Afeltra, Executive Assistant & Membership Services. Otherwise, you will receive a print copy of the renewal notice by regular mail and are encouraged to use the Internet to submit your dues as this greatly facilitates the renewal process. In addition, it's a perfect time to update your member information for accuracy, as the information you post on your member profile will be extracted for the online Membership Directory.

The current membership of the COS stands at 1,160 for the 2013 calendar year, an increase from 1,119 in 2012 (excluding residents). A robust membership base is essential to ensure a viable and effective national society and its programming efforts on behalf of ophthalmology in Canada.

Please contact Rita Afeltra, Executive Assistant & Membership Services, with any questions or concerns at 800-267-5763 ext. 300 or by email ([email protected]).

Top 10 reasons to renew your COS membership

  1. Save by taking advantage of member rates for the COS Annual Meeting and Exhibition, the premiere ophthalmology event in Canada, including the opportunity for hands-on learning through surgical skills transfer courses
  2. Participate in great educational programs to earn CPD/CME credits
  3. Receive a free subscription to the Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology
  4. Access the latest CPGs
  5. Network with more than 1,200 Canadian ophthalmology professionals
  6. Gain access to COS's annual online membership directory - a complete listing of Canadian ophthalmologists and residents - and a complimentary subscription to Perspectives, the COS newsletter
  7. Get involved in helping to shape the future of health care policy in Canada
  8. Receive discounts on the purchase of patient information pamphlets
  9. Find your niche - the COS is affiliated with Canadian subspecialty societies
  10. Get the latest news and updates in ophthalmology
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Dr. John Denis Valberg, MDCM, MScMed, FRCSC

Forty-six years ago this month I was a member of a small group of medical students assigned to a mentoring session with a fresh young ophthalmologist, Dr. John Valberg. This meeting became a life-altering experience. It left me with a new concept of the kind of person I wished to be and with the knowledge that I would abandon my previously chosen career in general surgery in favour of ophthalmology.

John Valberg was an awesome man. He was unique from any person I have known. So many things about him were purposeful and punctilious, including his beautiful surgical technique, his manner of dressing, his speech elocution, even his handwriting. He was also thoughtful, reflective, creative, playful and relaxed.

John was a past president and life member of the Canadian Ophthalmological Society. He was a proud family man who enjoyed spending time with his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. For 57 years he shared a fairy tale marriage with the love of his life, the gorgeous Betty Workman Valberg.

He was a gifted surgeon, an exceptional mentor and educator, and a very fine man. He was a vigorous advocate of his patients. John truly lived his life with dignity and integrity. He has left us all a wonderful legacy.

Brian Leonard, MD, FRCSC

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Continuing Professional Development (CPD) update

Highlights of the 2013 COS Annual Meeting

With more than 1,400 delegates in attendance, the 2013 COS Annual Meeting was a tremendous success. This 76th meeting focused on innovation in medicine and science, and included skills transfer courses demonstrating the latest advances in surgery, interactive symposia on new technologies and diagnostic techniques, and more than 50 exhibitors at the vanguard of ophthalmological technology.

Scientific highlights of the meeting included the COS Lecture, "Management of cataract complications," by Robert H. Osher; and Dr. William F. Mieler delivering the Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology Lecture, "Update on age-related macular degeneration." Look for Dr. Mieler's article and more in a special issue of the CJO, "The Best of COS 2013," to be published April 2014.

Abstracts from the 2013 meeting can be found on our web site.

Several presenters at the COS meeting were also interviewed for the magazine Optical Prism. See "Alternative medicine: topical NSAIDs not needed for uncomplicated cataract surgery."

Our skills transfer courses were an exceptional opportunity for small group discussions and hands-on learning. Symposia on topics such as the treatment of uveitis, and the genetics and treatment options for ophthalmologic tumours offered exciting exchanges of ideas through clinical case discussions. Surgical skills courses presented unique opportunities for hands-on demonstration and practice with courses on novel techniques and devices in glaucoma, and complicated IOL placement. The Women in Ophthalmology symposium, featuring a presentation by Dr. Hélène Boisjoly, promoted opportunities for networking and mentorship amongst colleagues.

The COS Celebration unmasked the night with Venetian flair at a masquerade call. Guests at the Château Champlain enjoyed a feast fit for royalty and danced to the live music of Sophistoccasion.

COS Awards of Excellence

COS congratulates the recipients of the 2013 COS Awards for Excellence in Ophthalmic Research. The COS Awards recognize residents, fellows or medical students conducting original, innovative research at a Canadian university.

Paper presentations

First prize
Talal Alabduljalil
University of Toronto
Demonstration of anatomical development of the human macula within the first five years of life using Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)

Second prize
Stephen Dorrepaal
University of Toronto
Resistance of ocular flora to gatifloxacin in patients undergoing intravitreal injections - a case-control study

Third prize
Nawaaz Nathoo
University of British Columbia
Association between glaucoma, glaucoma therapies, and erectile dysfunction

Poster presentations

First prize
Stephanie Kletke
McMaster University
Educational and vision-assistive smartphone apps for patients: a quantitative evaluation

Second prize
Jay Ching-Chieh Wang
University of British Columbia
Effects of CFH Y402H SNP, age and drusen on cytokine & growth factor levels in post-mortem human vitreous and retina

Third prize
Victoria Leung
University of Toronto
Investigating the relationship between socio-demographic factors and non-persistence with topical glaucoma medications

2014 COS Annual Meeting

Save the date now for the 2014 COS Annual Meeting in Halifax, June 4-7 at the World Trade and Convention Centre. Pathology and committee meetings are scheduled for Wednesday June 4, with the rest of the program following on Thursday June 5 through Saturday June 7.

Guest speakers confirmed to date include:

  • Peter Barry, FRCS, FRCSI, FRCOphth, from Dublin, Ireland. Dr. Barry has recently retired as consultant ophthalmic surgeon at the Royal Victoria Eye & Ear Hospital and St Vincent's University Hospital.
  • Keith Barton, MD, FRCP, FRCS, FRCOphth, from London, UK. Dr. Barton is a consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital and honorary reader, Department of Epidemiology, Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London.
  • M. Bowes Hamill, MD from Houston, Texas. Dr. Hamill is an associate professor of ophthalmology at the Cullen Eye Institute, Baylor College of Medicine.
  • Byron L. Lam, MD from Miami, Florida. Dr. Lam is a professor and the medical director of neuro-ophthalmology and visual physiology at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, University of Miami.
  • Robert N. Weinreb, MD from San Diego, California. Dr. Weinreb is the chair and distinguished professor of ophthalmology at the University of California, San Diego, as well as director of the Shiley Eye Center and the director of the Hamilton Glaucoma Center. He also holds the Morris Gleich Chair of Glaucoma.

More information:

Call for abstracts: 2014 COS Annual Meeting
Opened: Tuesday September 10, 2013
Closes: Tuesday November 26, 2013 11:59 pm PT

COS is now accepting abstracts for the 2014 COS Annual Meeting in Halifax at the World Trade and Convention Centre. The deadline to submit your abstracts is Tuesday November 26 at midnight PT. Submit your abstract now.

Attention residents, fellows and medical students! Are you conducting original, innovative research at a Canadian university? If so, you will want to apply for a COS Award for Excellence in Ophthalmic Research. You may win a cash award for paper and poster presentations, and an opportunity to present your work at the COS Annual Meeting. Be sure to apply when you submit your abstract.

Save The Date: Friday, June 6 Alan Doyle to perform live at the COS Celebration Gala!

We are very pleased to announce that Alan Doyle, lead singer of legendary Newfoundland Folk Pop Band Great Big Sea, will be performing live at the COS Annual Meeting on Friday, June 6. Alan Doyle is much in demand as a producer, arranger and general musical catalyst. His album represents the culmination of his musical journey since his days of playing on the seashore of Petty Harbour to recording tracks all over the world with friends like Russell Crowe, Colin James and Jim Cuddy. Tickets can be purchased when registering for the COS Annual Meeting in late January.

Earn CPD credits

Did you know…

You can claim Section 2 Self-Learning credits for:

  • Reading a journal article - 1 credit
  • Viewing a podcast - 0.5 credit
  • Participating in a committee: 15 credits per year per committee

For more information about CPD opportunities, please contact [email protected]

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Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology


Our October 2013 issue is a special issue on Microperimetry, guest edited by Dr. Samuel N. Markowitz. This issue covers in-depth this new technique and its ever-growing application to clinical practice. We hope you enjoy the issue and look forward to hearing your comments and feedback. If you are attending the American Academy of Ophthalmology Annual Meeting in New Orleans in November, Dr. Markowitz will be presenting on Sunday, November 17, 7:30 a.m. at a session entitled "Microperimetry and Clinical Practice."

Our next special issue is scheduled to appear in October 2014. Guest-edited by Dr. Yvonne Buys and Dr. Neeru Gupta, it will be based on the proceedings of the 53rd Annual Walter Wright Day in Glaucoma Management.

If you presented at the 2013 COS Annual Meeting, or are planning to present at the 2014 COS meeting, please consider submitting an article to the CJO. Submissions are always welcome at

New Editorial Board and International Advisory Board Members
We are proud to report that Dr. Ike Ahmed (University of Toronto) and Dr. Mili Roy (University of Toronto/University of Manitoba) have joined the CJO Editorial Board as Cataract Section Editor and Uveitis Section Editor, respectively. Drs. Roy and Ahmed are welcome additions to the editorial team.

We also welcome Dr. Rohit Varma (Epidemiology - Chicago, Illinois) and Dr. Daniel Morris (Oculoplastics - Cardiff, Wales) as the newest members of the CJO International Advisory Board. Dr. Varma and Dr. Morris have become active and much-appreciated members of the IAB.

CJO seeks reviewers and editors
Due to increasing submissions to the journal, the CJO continues to need individuals interested in reviewing and/or editing for the journal in all sections. In particular, we are presently actively recruiting a section editor for the Ophthalmic & General Pathology section as well as associate editors who would assist the editor-in-chief. If you are interested in these positions, please contact the editorial office ([email protected]) for further details.

The Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology is your journal. Its content reflects the submissions received. We welcome the submission of research from COS members and we are also always on the lookout for expert reviewers and potential section editors. If you have questions or need more information, please feel free to contact the Editorial Office at [email protected].

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