COS celebrates 2017: a year of milestones

This year marked a significant milestone not only for the COS, but for Canada as well. In addition to the 150th anniversary of Canada, COS had the opportunity to celebrate three milestones, including one of our own – the 80th anniversary of the COS Annual Meeting & Exhibition. This year’s meeting, entitled 80 Years of Evidence, Education and Innovation in Eye Health, was the organization’s largest meeting to date, held in the beautiful and historic city of Montréal. Did you know that Montréal was home to our first Annual Meeting in 1937 and our 50th Annual Meeting in 1967? To top it off, Montréal celebrated its 375th anniversary and the 50th anniversary of the city’s iconic Expo 67. The excitement was contagious at this year’s COS meeting which attracted the largest number of delegates from around the world, record attendance of over 1500 attendees, eighteen Canadian and internationally renowned guest speakers, state-of-the-art equipment and surgical materials.

Although there were many exciting and positive aspects of this year’s meeting, here are some of the key highlights:

Record attendance!

The COS Annual Meeting and Exhibition 2017 saw record attendance! With over 1500 attendees and waiting lists for almost all of the surgical skills transfer courses (STCs), it was an event not to be missed. We had the highest number of international delegates, residents and fellows in attendance and the largest number of new COS membership registrations onsite compared to previous years. With the increase in attendance (about 40%) we’ve had to increase the sizes of our highly acclaimed STCs. Since receiving one of only three very prestigious Royal College CPD Provider Innovation Awards, we’re growing and diversifying in all the right places. New STCs were offered this year in retina – Scleral fixated intraocular lens implants and in oculoplastics – Botulinum: Smooth Moves. Both were sold out!

Scientific programming at its best

This year, the COS had a unique spread of presentations and interactive co-developed accredited symposia. Dr. Ike Ahmed filled the room with his 2016 election themed co-developed accredited symposium – Make IOL Calculations Great Again: The New Debate on Old and New Methods. In another scientific session, physicians were invited to bend over, twist and tweak their postures in our first-ever physician focused ergonomics session led by George Matos, a certified athletic therapist and musculoskeletal injury prevention specialist, personal trainer and reflexology therapist, who was also the COS guest speaker this year. Other notable lectureships, included this year’s Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology (CJO) Guest Lecture speaker, Dr. Jyortimay Biswas, a renowned expert in uveitis. Poster and paper presentations saw great attendance. Several winners of the COS Awards for Excellence in Ophthalmic Research were invited to participate in a personalized interview with AMI to discuss their research and findings. Another first for the COS!

Welcome Reception

Keeping with COS tradition, this year’s Welcome Reception did not disappoint. Held in the beautiful roof-top setting of the Palais des congrès, guests were greeted by unobstructed views of the city and Métis inspired art in terrace common areas. Dr. Guillermo Rocha, president of the COS, opened the reception by acknowledging the tremendous support from the Association des médecins ophthalmologistes du Québec (AMOQ), recognizing the exceptional leadership of Dr. Yvonne Buys, chair of the Annual Meeting and welcoming all the delegates, chairs and attendees. The reception boasted delicious hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and unique networking opportunities.

Recognizing the Lifetime Achievements of Dr. Seymour Brownstein

On Friday June 16th, the COS was proud to honor the contributions of Dr. Seymour Brownstein by awarding him the Lifetime Achievement Award. An extraordinary physician, educator, mentor, role model and dedicated family man. Dr. Brownstein has represented the profession at the highest levels, both professionally and personally. His work continues to be used throughout the academic community. This award is given to those who have made significant contributions to eye and vision care during their lifelong career in medicine. They have also been strong and positive role models in the community and exemplary mentors and educators. Our sincerest congratulations to Dr. Brownstein and his family.


The COS Annual General Meeting took place in the spacious plenary room of the Palais des congrès. Dr. Guillermo Rocha, Dr. Amin Kherani, Dr. Phil Hooper, Dr. Allan Slomovic and Jennifer Brunet-Colvey each presented an update within one of the 6 pillars of the COS’s 5-year strategic plan. The COS has grown significantly in the last several years. The COS has been able to balance the budget for the 7th consecutive year, with contributions to reserves, we continue to bring in higher educational grants from industry partners, create and support a national advocacy campaign and many other initiatives that all help unify the profession. The COS Nominating Committee proposed that Dr. Colin Mann be re-elected for another 3-year term as chair, Council on CPD. The committee also proposed that Dr. Yvonne Buys be elected for a 4-year term: 1 year to serve as president-elect, followed by 2 years as president and 1 year as past-president. Dr. Buys will continue to serve as chair of the COS Annual Meeting through 2018, while she is president-elect.

Exclusive Media Coverage

For the second consecutive year, the COS Annual Meeting welcomed Accessible Media INC (AMI). AMI Media is a not-for-profit multimedia organization serving more than five million Canadians who are blind, partially sighted, hearing impaired, mobility or print restricted. They conducted 12 onsite interviews, as well as captured footage of the STCs. The segment is expected to air in August 2017.

The COS Annual Meeting also had reporters from Doctors Review onsite and interest from Retinal Physician, a US publication. The COS Twitter handle, @CANeyeMDs, had a 3.2% jump in the engagement rate during the days of the meeting and gained 28 more followers. Since the meeting, the handle continues to grow quickly; attracting new followers everyday.

Special Thanks

The COS would like to thank the international guest speakers and panelists 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 and instructors 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 work done by the Planning Committee under the direction of Dr. Yvonne Buys and by the COS staff. Lastly, thank-you to AMOQ for being generous hosts in the beautiful city of Montréal and supporting our most successful meeting to date. Thank you for making this meeting such a success. To view photos from this years’ Annual Meeting and Exhibition please click here.

We look forward to seeing everyone at next year’s meeting in one of Canada’s world-class cities – Toronto – May 31st to June 3rd 2018. Stay tuned for more exciting details and registration dates!