Meeting highlights

COS hosts its largest meeting to date in Canada’s largest city

This year’s Canadian Ophthalmological Society (COS) Annual Meeting (May 31 to June 3, 2018) was true to its theme of Advocating for Evidence-Based Eye Health. The meeting featured a unique spread of scientific programming with a new emphasis on advocacy in all areas of ophthalmic practice. Held in Toronto, Ontario – Canada’s largest city by population – it also lived up to its environment by attracting the largest number of delegates from around the world, record attendance of more than 1600 attendees, and 20 Canadian and internationally renowned keynote speakers. Although there were many exciting and positive aspects to this year’s meeting, here are some of the key highlights.

Scientific programming with a focus on physicians, as well as patient care

Following the success of last year’s session on ergonomics in ophthalmology, the COS is proud to have offered Physician Wellness: Finding resilience and balance in a contracting medical system featuring Gigi Osler, BScMed, MD, President-Elect, Canadian Medical Association (CMA) from St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg, Manitoba, as one of three keynote speakers in the session. This unique session focused on the importance of Physicians “checking in” with themselves and being able to identify clear signs of burnout. In 2017, the Canadian Medical Association identified Physician Wellness as one of its 3 key strategic pillars in its 3-year Strategic Plan.

In addition, the highly popular interactive co-developed accredited symposia saw great attendance. The first co-developed accredited symposium chaired by Dr. Eric Fortin – Non-Infectious Uveitis: What’s Best For My Patient – Local or Systemic Treatment was a huge hit showcasing a novel model of collaborative care between ophthalmology and rheumatology with great participation throughout. This co-developed accredited symposium was organized by the COS, the Canadian Uveitis Society (CUS) and the Canadian Retina Society (CRS) and made possible by an educational grant from AbbVie. The second session led by Dr. Ike Ahmed filled the room with a Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) themed co-developed accredited symposium CSI: Cataract Surgery Investigation, exploring cases on spherical refractive error, residual astigmatism after toric IOL and dysphotopsia. This session was made possible by an unrestricted grant from Alcon. Among other notable lectureships was the first Dr. Harold Stein Innovator Lectureship featuring guest lecturer Soosan Jacob, MS, FRCS (Glasg), DNB, MNAMS, FERC from the Dr. Agarwal’s Refractive and Cornea Foundation in Chennai, a renowned expert in Cornea and Glaucoma.

Since receiving one of only three very prestigious Royal College Accredited CPD Provider Innovation Awards in 2014, we’ve seen record-breaking attendance at over 90 per cent of our surgical skills transfer courses (STCs) for the second consecutive year! This year we’ve been able to offer many new and in-demand STCs, including a Micro and Less Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS) featuring new surgical techniques for CyPass suprachoroidal shunts, iStent implants, and Gonioscopy Assisted Transluminal Trabeculectomy (GATT). And, an STC on the new Yamane Double Needle Technique for Scleral IOL Fixation. Both were sold out!

Research at its best!

Every year the COS Awards for Excellence in Ophthalmic Research recognizes residents, fellows and medical students who are conducting original, innovative research at a Canadian university. The COS is proud to recognize the following abstract winners: first place winner Dr. Jordan Isenberg, from the Université de Montréal, for his abstract entitled Peptidyl-prolyl cis-trans Isomerase A (PPIA) – a novel biomarker of multi-episodic (recurrent) ocular toxoplasmosis. Second place winner James J. Armstrong from the University of Western Ontario, for his abstract entitled Acetylsalicylic acid reduces collagen contraction, remodelling and myofibroblast proliferation in Tenon’s Capsule tissue mimetic. And, third place winner Dr. Andrei-Alexandru Szigiato from the University of Toronto, for his abstract entitled The use of eyemasks for reducing neonatal stress following dilated retinal examination.

The COS also awarded the top three posters; Xinyi Li from the University of Western Ontario, was awarded first prize for her poster entitled Bioactive protein-conjugated silica nanoparticles as a drug delivery system for dry eye disease, Dr. Jade Marie Lasiste from McGill University was awarded second prize for her poster entitled CITED1: A potential regulator of metastasis in uveal melanoma, and Dr. Parnian Arjmand from the University of Ottawa, was awarded third prize for her poster entitled Fibrin glue and internal limiting membrane abrasion for optic disc pit maculopathy.

Our heartfelt congratulations to the latest generation of incoming Canadian Ophthalmologists!

More about their research

Sold-out exhibit space

Continuing with the theme of breaking records this year, the Exhibit Hall attracted immense interest, with space selling out by mid-January and record industry rep attendance. The dynamic exhibit booths and the commitment displayed by the reps brought the Exhibit Hall to life, elevating it to the role of prime social and professional networking hub for delegates.


The COS Annual General Meeting (AGM) took place on June 1, 2018 in Room 716 A in the beautiful Metro Toronto Convention Centre (South Building). Updates were provided by Dr. Guillermo Rocha (President), Dr. Allan Slomovic (Chair, Nominating Committee), Dr. Amin Kherani (Treasurer), Dr. Phil Hooper (Chair, Council on Advocacy) and Jennifer Brunet-Colvey (Executive Director/CEO), while Stephanie Courneyea from McCay Duff LLP presented the audited financial statements for 2017. The COS has grown significantly over the last several years. The COS has been able to balance the budget for the eighth year in a row, with contributions to reserves. The organization continues to secure grants from industry partners for high-impact educational programs, creating and supporting a national advocacy and public awareness campaign and developing many other initiatives that all help unify the profession.

COS welcomes Dr. Yvonne Buys as President: Dr. Guillermo Rocha completed his two-year term as COS President and passed on the chain of office to Dr. Yvonne Buys. During his term as President of the COS, Dr. Rocha was an exemplary leader whose contributions helped to advance the Society on so many fronts. To name but a few, Dr. Rocha’s presidency included launching the organization’s first public awareness campaign See The Possibilities which is designed to educate Canadians on eye health and to profile the unique role ophthalmologists play in their patients’ lives, as the medical and surgical leaders of the eye and vision care team. Dr. Rocha also increased our international portfolio through our strengthened relationships with the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology (PAAO) and the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO). Lastly, his passion for communication helped the COS see its most successful media year to date, with daily media requests and steady growth on all COS social media channels. Special thanks to Dr. Rocha for his commitment to the COS and for his leadership in unifying the profession. Dr. Rocha will remain on the COS Board for another year as Immediate Past-President, providing ongoing guidance and counsel to the Board.

Dr. Buys has an extensive résumé of involvement with the COS, having served as Chair of the COS Annual Meeting from 2013 – 2018 and, prior to this role, as COS Treasurer from 2010-2013. Dr. Buys also served on the Editorial Board of the Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology (CJO) as Section Editor for Glaucoma. Dr. Buys will no doubt bring the organization to even greater heights during her presidency.

Other COS positions: The COS membership elected Dr. Setareh Ziai to the COS Board as Board Liaison, Resident and Young Ophthalmologist Affairs. Dr. Mona Harissi-Dagher will now take over the role of Chair of the Annual Meeting Planning Committee from Dr. Yvonne Buys, as she assumes her new role as COS President. Dr. Phil Hooper was unanimously re-elected for another 3-year term as Chair, Council on Advocacy. A Call for Nominations for upcoming vacant Board positions will be issued in the Fall of 2018.

CJO Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Phil Hooper, steps down, welcomes Dr. Varun Chaudhary, new Editor-in-Chief: Dr. Phil Hooper stepped down from his 10-year tenure as Editor-in-Chief of the CJO and welcomed Dr. Varun Chaudhary as the CJO’s newest Editor. During his tenure as Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Hooper has enhanced the global impact of Canadian ophthalmological research and expertise. The CJO now receives over 1,000 manuscript submissions per year as a result of Dr. Hooper’s dedication to further develop the reviewer database, and to encourage younger ophthalmologists to contribute to the journal as reviewers and/or section editors. He also oversaw several specially themed issues including Microperimetry, Glaucoma Management, and two supplements for primary care practitioners: one that included a guide for detecting and referring glaucoma suspects and one on diabetic retinopathy. The COS was honoured to present Dr. Hooper with a unique photo by reputable Canadian mountain landscape and adventure photographer, Paul Zizka. COS is pleased to welcome Dr. Chaudhary in his role as the new Editor-in-Chief of the CJO.

Welcome Reception

Keeping with COS tradition, this year’s Welcome Reception did not disappoint. Held in the beautiful Kensington Ballroom at the Delta Hotel, the space was vibrant and packed with delegates from around the world. Dr. Guillermo Rocha opened the reception by welcoming all delegates and attendees, acknowledging the support from the Eye Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (EPSO), and recognizing the exceptional leadership of Dr. Yvonne Buys, Chair of the Annual Meeting and all of the Session Chairs. Special thanks were also extended to our industry supporters. The reception boasted delicious hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and unique networking opportunities.

Recognizing the lifetime achievements of Dr. Graham Trope

On June 1, the COS was proud to honour the contributions of Dr. Graham Trope by awarding him this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award (LAA). Dr. Trope is an exceptional physician, educator and role model. Described by Dr. Trope’s nominator, Dr. Eddie Moss, as the world’s “most interesting man”, Dr. Trope is a motorcyclist, skilled horologist and wildlife photographer. His talents are in no shortage. Dr. Trope has led an exemplary life as an ophthalmologist and we wish him continued success. The LAA is given to those who have made significant contributions to eye and vision care during a lifelong career in medicine. They have also been strong and positive role models in the community and exemplary mentors and educators. The COS is privileged to be able to recognize and honour the life and work of Dr. Trope.

The Council on Advocacy hosts the first-ever Advocacy 101 & Media 101 Session

On May 31, the COS Council on Advocacy hosted Council on Advocacy Meet & Greet for physician leader representatives. This was followed by an exclusive Continuing Professional Development (CPD) accredited Advocacy 101 and Media 101 Training Session that taught physicians how to effectively communicate with government and the media. The session featured a talk by government relations expert Ryan Clarke from Advocacy Solutions Inc. on how physicians can effectively communicate with governments at all levels. Mr. Clarke also led two interactive role-playing exercises designed to mimic a real-life meeting between an ophthalmologist and a government official on a relevant topic. The second half of the session featured a Media 101 Session with speakers from COS’s public relations firm Cossette Health/The Colony Project, who spoke about media relations as an effective tool in Advocacy.

Onsite media and 17k impressions on Twitter!

The COS Annual Meeting welcomed coverage from, and various freelance journalists onsite, including prominent medical writer Louise Gagnon, from publications such as Pulse UK, CMAJ and others. The COS Twitter handle, @CANeyeMDs, had a 1.5% jump in the engagement rate, 900% increase in COS mentions and over 17k tweet impressions during the lead up and days of the meeting. We’re continuing to see great @CANeyeMDs handle growth which is attracting new followers every day.

Special thanks

The COS would like to thank the international keynote speakers and local invited speakers who lent us their expertise and provided excellent opportunities for education and discussion. We thank the delegates who attended sessions, the Session Chairs and STC Course Directors for developing rich educational programming, and the sponsors who gave us their generous support. The conference would not have been the same without the contributions of each one of them. We sincerely thank the Planning Committee and COS staff under the direction of Dr. Yvonne Buys. Thank you for making this meeting such a success. To view photos from this year’s Annual Meeting and Exhibition, please click here.

Let the countdown to the 2019 COS Annual Meeting and Exhibition begin! Join us in Québec City from June 13 to June 16, 2019. Stay tuned for more exciting details and registration dates!