In this issue

Message from the President, Dr. Allan Slomovic, MSc, MD, FRCSC

It was with great pleasure that I began my term as president of the Canadian Ophthalmology Society (COS) in June 2014. I am honoured to be taking over the helm from Dr. Paul Rafuse, whose expert leadership has left the society in great shape in every respect. My first few months as president have been very busy with events, meetings, and discussions that have allowed me the opportunity to develop a deep understanding of the role of the president of the COS. I look forward to a productive and rewarding term of office. My goal over the next several years will be to continue the tradition of excellence that has been passed down to me by my illustrious predecessors.

This issue of Perspectives highlights the numerous accomplishments of the COS over the past few months. I encourage you to read about past endeavours and exciting new initiatives in education provided by our CPD programming and in the Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology (CJO), changes to COS governance, plans for the next COS annual meeting and COS advocacy on matters of concern to ophthalmologists across Canada. I would also like to draw your attention to the fact that the COS has been awarded the 2014 RCPSC Accredited CPD Provider Innovation Award for the innovative skills transfer courses offered each year at the annual meeting. We can all be proud that the Royal College has recognized the work of our society. The Innovation Award will be officially presented at the COS 2015 annual meeting in Victoria.

COS is in an excellent position to help educate, advocate on behalf of, and connect ophthalmologists from across Canada with each other and with the rest of the vision and eye care community. We do, however, rely on the contributions of our member volunteers who sit on committees, review articles for the journal, advise on panels for co-developed programs, chair sessions at the annual meeting, review abstracts, and generally make the work of the society happen. The excellent COS staff is available to implement and facilitate COS activities, but, at the end of the day, the work that we accomplish relies on COS members becoming and remaining engaged participants. To that end, I look forward to connecting with and encouraging involved COS members and stakeholders during my tenure as president. We truly have an outstanding and very special society. My (virtual) door is always open for your comments or suggestions.

Report from Executive Director/CEO, Jennifer Brunet-Colvey

Update on the Wait Time Alliance

While much has been done over the past decade to improve timely access to care, considerable work is needed to match the levels of performance seen in other developed countries. Progress and challenges in Canada are outlined in detail in the Wait Time Alliance's (WTA) 2014 Report Card on Wait Times in Canada, issued June 3, 2014.

A strategic planning session was held on Monday, September 22 to develop the three- to five-year plan for the WTA. On September 23, COS attended a breakfast meeting with MPs on Parliament Hill. Cardiologist Dr. Chris Simpson, chair, WTA and president of the Canadian Medical Association, emceed the event. Dr. Suzane Renaud, past-president of the Canadian Psychiatric Association was the French spokesperson and Nick Nanos presented some very interesting data.

Members of the Wait Time Alliance in front of the Peace Tower, September 2014

Achievements and major initiatives for the upcoming year

COS is continuing to break new ground. A summary of our most recent achievements can be found in the society's semi-annual report to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

COS will continue to focus on its key priorities: member services, continuing professional development (CPD) and health policy advocacy. Specifically:

  • COS will move forward with the implementation of its 5-year strategic plan, including restructuring some of its committees to better meet the needs of members.
  • The Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology will be creating a primary care supplement (for family and emergency physicians) and will be developing CPD content to increase opportunities for Section 3 MOC credits derived from CJO articles.
  • COS will explore e-learning and web-based learning programs for CPD credit (e.g., sponsored online resource centres).
  • With the Canadian Retina Society (CRS), COS will co-develop the 3rd CRS scientific meeting in February 2015.
  • COS will expand educational opportunities at the CRS and at COS annual meetings by providing co-developed accredited symposia.
  • COS will continue to strengthen relationships with subspecialty societies and with provincial associations.
  • COS will enhance its ability to respond to inquiries from the public and media with additional staffing for communications, media relations and public affairs.

Certificate of Continuance

Industry Canada recently issued the COS its Certificate of Continuance. This allows COS to continue under the new Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act. Special thanks are due to Drs. Paul Rafuse and Mona Harissi-Dagher for their leadership throughout this long and arduous process.

COS receives 2014 RCPSC Accredited CPD Provider Innovation Award

COS received one of three 2014 Royal College Accredited CPD Provider Innovation Awards for its surgical skills transfer courses (see news story). This award recognizes accredited CPD providers for their innovative educational and administrative policies, processes, resources and tools.

A certificate was presented to the COS on September 29, 2014, during the College of Family Physicians of Canada and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada's joint 6th National CPD Accreditation Conference in Toronto. The award will be presented at the COS Annual Meeting in June in Victoria.

COS President, Dr. Allan Slomovic, gave a presentation on the surgical skills transfer courses. COS first introduced surgical skills transfer courses during its 2010 Annual Meeting under the leadership of Dr. Slomovic, then Chair of the Annual Meeting Planning Committee and Dr. Rusty Ritenour, member of the Annual Meeting Planning Committee. The courses were an immediate success, as participants saw a real need for more hands-on and individual teaching.

The COS continues to consult with members of the ophthalmological community to determine and meet their educational needs. It is through these consultations that we created a new skills transfer course in oculoplastics held at the 2014 COS Annual Meeting in Halifax. For the first time, participants learned new skills on surgical-grade cadavers.

2014-2015 COS Board of Directors and Council elected

The 2014-15 slate of COS officers was elected at the Annual General Meeting in Halifax in June. COS thanks these dedicated volunteers for their leadership.

COS Board of Directors (2014-15)
PresidentAllan Slomovic, MDOntario
Past-PresidentPaul Rafuse, MDNova Scotia
Board Liaison, Resident AffairsMona Harissi-Dagher, MDQuebec
Chair, Council on Provincial AffairsAndrew Budning, MD Ontario
Chair, Annual Meeting Planning CommitteeYvonne Buys, MD Ontario
Chair, Council on Continuing Professional DevelopmentColin Mann, MDNova Scotia
SecretaryJames Whelan, MDNewfoundland and Labrador
TreasurerGeoff Williams, MDAlberta

Under the leadership of our Board of Directors, Committees and Councils, COS had an active and successful year. For more information, please see the 2013 Annual Report.

Restructuring of the CPD Council

All activities at COS are guided by our Strategic Priorities, Strategic Directions and Intended Outcomes plan, which outlines our goals in the areas of Finance and Resource Management, Governance, Membership, Education, Advocacy, Communications and Media Relations.

In order to achieve our objectives in the area of Education, the Council on Continuing Professional Development has been restructured. This restructured Council will now include:

  • The Annual Meeting Planning Committee
  • The Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology
  • Maintenance of Certification
  • Digital Technology Online Learning
  • Clinical Practice Guidelines - this committee will be renamed Practice Resource Committee

This new structure will allow for greater cross-pollination between the various CPD areas, as COS moves to fully embrace online learning and digital technology to enhance our value to our members. Dr. Colin Mann is the chair of the new Council on CPD and joined the COS Board in June 2014. The new Council on CPD held its inaugural meeting on September 29, 2014.


COS response to a proposal by the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia to adopt USP 797
COS was recently asked to lend its support to the Eye Physicians and Surgeons Society of British Columbia in response to a proposal by the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia to adopt USP 797. Issued by the U.S. Pharmacopoeia (USP), this regulation governs any pharmacy that prepares compounded sterile preparations.

In a letter to BC Minister of Health Terry Lake and the College of Pharmacists of BC, we supported the BC Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons to request a meeting with the College of Pharmacists of BC to express concerns and provide stakeholder input. In addition to supporting ophthalmology representation at meetings regarding USP 797, we requested a detailed analysis of the expected implications of USP 797 on ophthalmic patient care, specifically in terms of any increased time to access, increased cost or decreased availability of urgently needed compounded medications. This letter was co-signed by the presidents of COS, the Canadian Retina Society, the Canadian Cornea, External Disease & Refractive Surgery Society, the Canadian Glaucoma Society, as well as by the Chair of the COS Toxic Anterior Segment Syndrome Task Force.

COS responds to proposed scope of practice expansion for optometrists in Alberta and Saskatchewan
Medical organizations including COS, Eye Physicians and Surgeons Association of Alberta (EPSAA), the Alberta Medical Association, the College of Physicians of Alberta, the Canadian Medical Association, and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada have all expressed concern regarding the level of consultation with the medical profession before an expansion of the scope of practice for Alberta optometrists was announced by the Minister of Health on April 29, 2014. Following a face-to-face meeting on June 9 with COS's immediate past president Dr. Paul Rafuse and president of EPSAA Dr. Kenneth Romanchuk, the then minister of health, Fred Horne, pledged to write to the regulatory bodies for optometry and medicine to propose the coordination of services through a Strategic Clinical Network.

COS was recently invited by Alberta Health to comment on the latest proposed changes to the legislation and was disappointed to see that the amendments do not reflect the grave concerns of the medical profession around granting optometrists in Alberta such an expanded scope of practice. This expansion would justify allowing them to advance from being providers of primary eye care to doctors skilled at the diagnosis and treatment of all eye disease within the visual system and its associated structures. The change in scope of practice would allow optometrists to prescribe essentially all oral and topical drugs and order all related laboratory tests. COS reiterated its concerns in a letter to Alberta Health, and in a letter to the new minister of health, Stephen Mandel, and the new premier, Jim Prentice.

In Saskatchewan, COS was also asked to comment on revised Optometric Professional Bylaws Amendments circulated for comment to various stakeholders. COS continues to be concerned that the current process for these important bylaw amendments has not carefully considered the recommendations from the Section of Ophthalmology, Saskatchewan Medical Association. In a letter sent in October 2014, COS appealed to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health to engage in a transparent consultative process with ophthalmology prior to enacting changes to the Saskatchewan Association of Optometrists' bylaws; requested to be informed about the evidence that supports the need for this increased scope in practice; recommended that ophthalmologists and optometrists in the province of Saskatchewan work collaboratively following the Model of Interprofessional Collaboration in the Care of Glaucoma and Glaucoma Suspects; and urged the province to develop an eye health council, which would provide an open and transparent forum for future discussions about patient-centred eye care in Saskatchewan.

2014 Annual Meeting

Our Annual Meeting, our flagship CPD program, continues to exceed all expectations. The 2014 Annual Meeting in Halifax featured 17 international speakers and brought together over 1,300 participants for four days of workshops, research presentations, plenary sessions, surgical skills transfer courses (wet-labs), and networking. Congratulations and special thanks to Dr. Yvonne Buys, Chair of the Annual Meeting Planning Committee and to all of the session chairs for their strong leadership.

Mark your calendars now for 2015! Our meeting will be held in beautiful Victoria, BC, from June 18 to 21. Watch the COS website for details as they become available.

COS member awards and distinctions

COS congratulates the following members who have been recently recognized as leaders in their fields.

Dr. Guillermo Rocha was the 2014 recipient of the Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba's iCARE Award. The iCARE Award was established by the Lieutenant-Governor in 2012 in order to recognize an eye care professional who demonstrates innovative and/or unique contributions to eye health in Manitoba, who works within their associate body and who has made significant contributions to the community at large. Dr. Rocha supports COS through his involvement as Cornea Session chair for the COS Annual Meeting, as the chair of the COS Eye Bank Committee, and as a liaison with Canadian Blood Services, among other things.

Dr. Ike Ahmed received the Binkhorst Medal during the recent American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery and American Society of Ophthalmic Administrators Annual Symposium and Congress in Boston on April 26, 2014 (see news release). Since 1975, the Binkhorst Medal has been awarded to the world's most prominent ophthalmologists whose careers have made significant contributions to the science and practice of ophthalmology. During his distinguished career, Dr. Ahmed's work has established him as a foremost leader in the field of ophthalmology and a primary force in the surgical management of glaucoma, complex cataract, and intraocular lens complications.

Dr. Hélène Boisjoly, Dean of Medicine at University of Montreal, was appointed Chair of Board of Directors of the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC). AFMC is governed by the Board of Directors, comprised of the Deans of the 17 faculties of medicine and up to four public members. The objective of AFMC is to promote the advancement of academic medicine in Canada through the review and development of standards for medical education in Canada; development of national policies appropriate to the aims and purposes of Canadian faculties of medicine; fostering of research into major areas of interest for Canadian faculties of medicine; and representation of the Canadian faculties of medicine to key agencies.

Dr. Ian MacDonald, Chair, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at University of Alberta was been appointed to the Institute Advisory Board of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction, replacing Dr. Isabelle Brunette who has effectively championed vision health research at CIHR for the past seven years.

Members: If you or someone you know has received an award, distinction or appointment, please let us know so we can share this information with your colleagues!

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Membership news

Membership renewal notices for 2015 will be sent by email in early November.

Members who have yet to provide COS with an email address can contact Rita Afeltra, Membership Coordinator, at [email protected]. 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 1,067 for the 2014 calendar. 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, Membership Coordinator, 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

About COS

  • Speaking as the national public authority on eye care in Canada
  • Representing eye physicians and surgeons from every province
  • Advocating improved vision care policies and standards
  • Developing clinical practice guidelines for eye health professionals
  • Facilitating continuing professional development opportunities for eye physicians and surgeons
  • Collaborating with allies, partners, key stakeholders and supporters in vision care
  • Providing accurate, up-to-date information on vision health
  • Publishing the latest research findings and industry news in the Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology

COS does all this and more - we aim to assure the provision of optimal eye care for all Canadians by promoting excellence in ophthalmology and by providing services to support our members in practice.

COS is an affiliate of the Canadian Medical Association and an accredited provider of Continuing Professional Development, as recognized by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.


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Continuing professional development update

2014 COS annual meeting recap

The 2014 COS Annual Meeting, Canada's premier scientific meeting for ophthalmology, was once again a tremendous success!

Held in picturesque Halifax, the meeting featured 17 distinguished international and Canadian guest speakers, over 100 presenters, and attracted over 1,300 participants.

Over four days in early June, participants enjoyed invited lectures, scientific papers, wet labs and workshops. They also participated in numerous social and networking activities, the highlight being a delicious lobster dinner and a live performance by Alan Doyle, lead singer of Newfoundland band, Great Big Sea (photo left).

New skills transfer courses

The COS creates new and innovative educational activities and tools based on member demand. Participants practice surgical techniques in wet-labs or through demonstration, instruction and practice using diagnostic equipment. There is a high ratio of faculty to student providing participants with extensive one-on-one interaction. In 2014, we introduced two new courses.

Oculoplastics for the comprehensive ophthalmologist: This sold-out course reviewed common surgical techniques in oculoplastics such as the lateral tarsal strip procedure for ectropion/entropion repair, wedge resection for excisional biopsy and lid reconstruction, punctoplasty and canalicular repair. Feedback from this session was very positive, with many participants saying that the skills they learned would benefit their practice. We received many recommendations for additional skills transfer courses in the future.

Skills transfer course and ophthalmology update for family and ER physicians: The goal of this collaborative session was to provide an ophthalmology update to Family and ER physicians. Through a combination of hands-on and didactic learning, these physicians were able to develop ophthalmology skills and enhance their knowledge base. Feedback was also positive with most physicians indicating they would prefer more hands-on practice in future sessions.

COS awards

Dr. Raymond P. LeBlanc - 2014 COS Lifetime Achievement Award

Ray LeBlanc and family

We would like to congratulate Raymond P. LeBlanc on receiving the COS Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. LeBlanc spent 25 years as the head of Dalhousie University's Ophthalmology and Visual Science Department. His notable accomplishments during those years include key recruitments to establish an academic training and research program, the initiation of fellowship programs, and the development of Canada's first consolidated eye care centre.

Dr. LeBlanc is passionate about patient-centred care. He led the development of an integrated vision care model for Nova Scotia, one that is now emulated in other Canadians provinces. Dr. LeBlanc retired in 2012. More

COS Awards for Excellence in Research

Paper presentations

First prize
Yufeng (Nancy) Chen, University of Western Ontario
Patient appropriate health literacy educational materials in ophthalmology

Second prize
Joshua Teichman, University of Ottawa
Randomized controlled trial of the efficacy of povidone-iodine in reducing bacterial load prior to cataract surgery when pre-treated with gel versus drops

Third prize
Yiannis Iordanous, University of Western Ontario
Cost-effectiveness analysis of iStent and phacoemulsification versus glaucoma medications in the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP)

Poster presentations

First prize
Caitlin Chang, University of Western Ontario
The role of gap junctions in survival of mechanically stressed primary human trabecular meshwork cells

Second prize
Vasudha Gupta, McMaster University
Safety evaluation of ocular drug delivery formulation: an in vivo approach

Third prize
Swati Chavda, University of Western Ontario
Quality of evidence for low vision rehabilitation in children

COS 2014 poster winners and judges from left to right: Dr. Ali S. Hafez, Dr. Cindy Hutnik, Swati Chavda (3rd place), Caitlin Chang (1st place), Vasudha Gupta (2nd place), Dr. Robert LaRoche, Dr. Bernard Hurley

2015 COS Annual Meeting & Exhibition - Victoria, British Columbia

Preparations are already under way for next year's Annual Meeting to be held in Victoria, BC. For information about our program, guest speakers and hotel and airfare deals, please visit our website: Registration is scheduled to open early 2015.

Other CPD news

The COS collaborates with physician organizations, universities, and industry partners to develop and approve CPD activities based on the educational needs of our members. Please remember to visit the COS CPD webpage for the latest CPD-related information.

A list of accredited CPD opportunities is available on our web site.

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Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology update

October issue

The October issue of the CJO features an editorial by Dr. Neeru Gupta (CJO Section Editor) and Dr. Ivo Kocur (Medical Officer, World Health Organization) that describes the WHO's 2014-2019 Universal Eye Health Global Action Plan. This plan urges all countries to take stock of eye care services and to identify gaps and needs. Drs. Gupta and Kocur comment that vision impairment from chronic eye disease (especially age-related chronic conditions) will increase in Canada in the near future. The authors conclude that efforts to influence Canadian decision makers to address the prevention of chronic eye disease will "need to be rooted in evidence-based advocacy".

December issue

The December 2014 issue of the CJO is a special issue guest-edited by Dr. Yvonne Buys and Dr. Neeru Gupta. This issue contains review articles based on the proceedings of the 53rd Annual Walter Wright Day in Glaucoma Management held at the University of Toronto in December 2013. The articles provide an in-depth look at contemporary glaucoma management from the perspective of world-renowned glaucoma experts. Look for it in December 2014.


If you presented a poster or paper at the 2014 COS Annual Meeting, or at another ophthalmology meeting, please consider submitting an article to the CJO. See Instructions for authors. Submissions of your research articles are always welcome.

New editorial board members

The CJO officially welcomes Dr. Edsel Ing (University of Toronto) who has joined the Editorial Board as Neuro-Ophthalmology Section Editor and Dr. Paul Mackenzie (UBC) who has joined the Editorial Board as Glaucoma Co-Section Editor with Dr. Yvonne Buys.

CJO seeks reviewers for its database

Due to increasing submissions to the journal, the CJO always needs individuals interested in reviewing for the journal in all sections. Reviewing for the journal qualifies you for up to 15 Section 2 credits from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. If you are interested in becoming a reviewer, 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 also welcome the submission of letters to the editor. If you have questions or need more information, please feel free to contact the Editorial Office at [email protected].

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