• "Form and Function in Ocular Disease" Meeting, Oct 1-2, 2010

I would like to draw your attention to the biennial "Form and Function in Ocular
Disease" meeting which will take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada on
October 1-2, 2010. It is a multidisciplinary clinical and basic science
meeting. We have assembled guest faculty who are renowned in areas ranging
from imaging retinal neurons to medical humanities. The faculty will also
include members from Dalhousie University. There is no cost for registration.

New this year, we will offer 4 travel awards to trainees to present their
research at the meeting. The awards are open to graduate students, residents
and post-doctoral (clinical or non-clinical) research fellows based in Canadian
academic institutions.

Further information can be found on You can register
online or by fax. Since we are using several mailing lists and listserves,
please accept our apologies if you have received this notice more than once.


  • University of Waterloo, School of Optometry
    Dr. Thomas Freddo appointed to second term as Director of the School of Optometry


  • Endowed Professorship Announced:
    Sylvain Chemtob, MD, PhD, FRCPC, FCAHS
    Professor of Ophthalmology, Pediatrics, Optometry, and Pharmacology at the
    University of Montreal has been awarded the Leopoldine A. Wolfe Chair in Clinical/Translational Research in the Prevention Of Blindness from Age-Related Macular Degeneration






  • Vision Health Research Council - Foundation Fighting Blindness Luncheon Meeting
    at ARVO 2009:

Dr. William Stell, PhD, MD, gave updates at this meeting held May 4th, 2009 at
ARVO. He introduced the Kupfer Award Winner, Martin J. Steinbach, PhD and gave an update on FFB activities to the approximately 100 Canadian vision health scientists in

Martin J. Steinbach, PhD, receiving the ARVO Kupfer Award from the President, Todd Margolis, MD, PhD, at the May 3rd, 2009 Keynote Session of ARVO in Ft. Lauderdale.


• Association for Ocular Circulation Names its Secretary General

Dr. Chris Hudson, Director of Retinal Research at the UHN, Professor of
Optometry at the University of Waterloo, and Professor of Ophthalmology at UofT has been named Secretary General of the newly-formed Association for Ocular Circulation.


• Changing of the Guard at the CNIB

After 42 years of service to the organization, Jim Sanders, President and CEO of the CNIB has retired. Of particular interest to members of the CanVisSci list was the role Jim played in making research a priority for the organization. His successor, Mr John Rafferty brings years of experience as a business leader to the position. We wish Jim a happy retirement and wish Mr Rafferty much success in this challenging environment for charitable organizations.


  • $3 Million towards gene therapy for human retinal degenerative diseases

The Foundation Fighting Blindness - Canada has partnered with the CIHR to fund a five-year research project to develop gene therapies for human retinal diseases. More information is at:


  • Molday Receives UBC Award

Robert Molday received the Bill and Marilyn Webber Lifetime Achievement Award from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia


  • The Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research recently
    honoured three vision researchers with awards. Congratulations to Drs.
    Ordan Lehmann, Sarah McFarlane and Yves Sauve.


  • A new endowed chair has been announced at the Hospital for Sick
    Children in Toronto.
    Congratulations to Agnes Wong, MD, PhD, who holds
    the John and Melinda Thompson Chair in Vision Neurosciences.





  • Atlantic Eye Symposium
    September 18 & 19, 2009
    Marriott Harbourfront Hotel, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

    Topics:  Cornea, Cataract, Glaucoma & Retina
    Workshops: Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT),
    Heidelberg Retinal Tomography (HRT) & 'Botox in Your Practice'

    Guest Faculty
    Cataract: George Beiko, Rosa Braga-Mele, Warren E. Hill
    Cornea: Terrence P. O'Brien, Samuel Yiu
    Glaucoma: Paul Harasymowycz, Remo Susanna Jr.
    Retina: Lawrence Chong, Wai-Ching Lam, Joan Miller
    Contact: Dalhousie University Continuing Medical Education
    Phone: (902) 494-1560 E-mail:


• Canadian Ophthalmological Society Research Meeting

The Canadian Ophthalmological Society will be holding a session on research
issues at its annual meeting in Toronto on June 20, 2009. Speakers, topics and registration information are described on the COS website at



  • 8th meeting of the North American Perimetric Society (NAPS)

    October 1-2, 2009
    Skaneateles Falls, NY

    Click Here for Details

    Like all previous NAPS meetings, the format is theme-oriented with the
    topic for the 2009 meeting being "Impact of eye disease on activities
    of daily living." There will be in-depth presentations and
    discussions on this topic as well as a forum for free papers on any
    area of clinical testing of the visual system.

  • Steinbach 2009 ARVO Awardee

    Martin J. Steinbach has just been named as the 2009 Kupfer Awardee by the Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology (ARVO). The award honours those who "have demonstrated distinguished public service on behalf of eye and vision research" (from the ARVO website). It is named for Carl Kupfer who served as the Director of the National Eye Institute of the US NIH, for 30 years. It will be presented to him at the ARVO meeting next May in Ft. Lauderdale.




  • Vision Science Undergraduate Summer School

The Centre for Vision Research at York University in Toronto offers a one-week, all expenses paid undergraduate summer school on the topic of vision science. It runs from May 31 to June 6, 2009. Deadline for applications: Feb 1, 2009.
More information is available at:




"Form and Function in Ocular Disease"

Halifax, Nova Scotia, on September 26-27, 2008.

A multidisciplinary clinical and basic science meeting.

We have assembled guest faculty who are renowned in areas ranging from
imaging to genetics to the impact of global blindness. There is no cost
for registration.

More information can be found on  


3rd Alberta Vision Sciences Symposium:

Eye Development, Diseases of the Eye and Therapeutics of Eye Diseases.

October 3 and 4, 2008

Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary
Registration and Abstract submission details
are posted on the Foundation Fighting Blindness website at:


International Glaucoma Risk & Disease Management Symposium



To view the Brochure & Register on-line, please see attached link:



Vision 2008 - 9th International Conference on Low Vision Click here for details


The Board of Directors of The Foundation Fighting Blindness – Canada is very
pleased to announce that

Dr. William K. Stell, Ph.D., M.D., has joined its staff part-time in the new
position of Director, Research Programs.

Dr. Stell will develop new strategic research initiatives and partnerships to
accelerate the advancement and impact of Canadian and international retinal
research. He will work closely with Dr. Robert Molday, Chair of the Scientific
Advisory Board and Ms. Sharon Colle, National Executive Director of The
Foundation Fighting Blindness.

Bill has dual Canadian and American citizenship. He has degrees from Swarthmore
College and The University of Chicago (PhD, MD) and spent 5 years as
Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, MD). He was
a faculty member at UCLA as Professor of Ophthalmology in the Jules Stein Eye
Institute. He moved to the University of Calgary, Alberta as Professor, Head
of the Department of Morphological Sciences, and Director of the Lions’ Sight
Centre. He is now Professor of Cell Biology and Anatomy and a member of the
Hotchkiss Brain Institute at The Faculty of Medicine. His research specialty
is retinal neurobiology and vision, especially as they apply to understanding
and preventing myopia. His research has been supported by the National
Institutes of Health (USA), Canadian Institutes for Health Research, and the
Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada and is the subject of nearly
100 peer-reviewed publications.

He was Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of The Foundation Fighting
Blindness - Canada from 1989 to 1995 and has supported the activities and aims
of the Foundation ever since.

The Foundation Fighting Blindness is the leading national volunteer-based
organization in Canada dedicated to restoring the gift of sight to those living
with blindness. The Foundation funds essential vision research at universities
and teaching hospitals across Canada. It is dedicated to funding research into
the causes, treatments and ultimately the cures for retinal diseases like
retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration and related retinal diseases which
strike the nation’s two most vulnerable populations, children and seniors. Our
vision is to restore the gift of sight to people living with blindness.

For more information, contact


CNIB Awards $700K in Grants and Fellowships in 2007

Click here for details




Alberta Vision Science Symposium 2007
Aug 31 and Sept 1, 2007
Edmonton, Alberta

Click here for details
Click here for registration form


2nd International Conference on Femtosecond Lasers in Ophthalmology

Montréal (Québec), Canada, June 1, 2007

Dear Colleague,

The University of Montreal Department of Ophthalmology and the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS) invite you to attend the 2nd International Conference on Femtosecond Lasers in Ophthalmology, to be held in Montréal on June 1, 2007.

This conference is very special in that it covers all aspects of femtosecond laser technology for ophthalmologists and vision scientists. Femtosecond laser technology is transforming the practice of corneal surgery and its impact may go well beyond that of excimer laser technology. Future femtosecond laser applications will likely include glaucoma surgery, and eventually presbyopia and retinal surgery. Femtosecond lasers can also be used for cell nanosurgery, cell imaging, and cell transfection (Nature 2002).

A wide range of very practical and relevant topics will be covered by world-renowned experts in the clinical and basic science aspects of femtosecond laser technology in ophthalmology and vision science.

Online Registration Deadline: May 25, 2007

You may register online, by fax, or by mail

The meeting will be held at the Mount Stephen Club, one of the most elegant venues in Montréal. Coffee breaks and lunch are included in the registration fee.

Space is limited, so please register early to ensure your registration is accepted.

For more details, please do not hesitate to contact us directly or call the ICFLO-2007 Office.

Best regards,
The ICFLO-2007 Organizing Committee
Isabelle Brunette, Ophthalmology, University of Montreal
Tsuneyuki Ozaki, PhD, INRS, Canada
ICFLO-2007 Office
Contact: Lucie Budack
Tel: (514) 252-3400 #4959
Fax: (514) 251-7094


Athen, Greece
Mar 28-31, 2007


Position at the Foundation Fighting Blindness. Deadline May 14, 2007

Director, Research Programs (part-time/consulting)


ARVO Reception for Canadian Attendees
Convention Centre, Palm B
Wednesday, May 9th, 5:15 pm,

NO CANADIAN FLAGS will be placed on posters announcing this meeting. ARVO has a new policy that will not allow anything non-scientific to appear on posters. This is your only invitation to the reception.

At this recption you will hear updates from

Dr. Keith Gordon, Head of Research, CNIB
Ms Sharon Colle, Executive Director, Foundation Fighting Blindness
Dr. Martin Steinbach, on new initiatives from the
CIHR-INMHA, and the National Coalition for Vision Health.

Funding for the reception comes from Novartis

York CVR Vision Science Summer School

The Centre for Vision Research at York University in Toronto is pleased to announce a one-week, all-expense-paid undergraduate summer school on the topic of vision science. The program will run May 20-26, 2007. The program includes talks and demonstrations by CVR faculty on current research topics in vision science, as well as hands-on projects in CVR laboratories. The curriculum reflects the wide range of active research areas at CVR, which includes basic research on vision in humans, animals, and machines, as well as applied topics such as virtual reality and visual perception in low-gravity environments. The program will accept 20 undergraduate students who are interested in pursuing a career in scientific research.

The program provides on-campus accommodations, breakfast and lunch each day, a closing banquet, and reimbursement for transportation costs.

Speakers include James Elder, Mazyar Fallah, Laurence Harris, Denise Henriques, Michael Jenkin, Richard Murray, David Regan, Jennifer Steeves, Laurie Wilcox, Hugh Wilson, and others.

For further information, see the summer school website, including the lecture schedule, at, or write to Jennifer Steeves (

To apply, send one reference letter, a transcript (unofficial transcripts are fine), and a statement of up to 150 words explaining why you would like to participate in the program. Applications may be sent by email to Richard Murray (, or by regular mail to Richard Murray, Centre for Vision Research, York University, 4700 Keele Street, CSEB 0009, Toronto, M3J 1P3. The application deadline is March 15, and applicants will be notified of decisions by April 1.

This program is funded by a training grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and by York University.

Landmark meeting about the future of vision health in Canada held in Toronto on February 12th and 13th. Health Minister Tony Clement provides opening Statement.

Click here for details


The National Coalition for Vision Health (NCVH) is the Canadian organization representing ALL of the stakeholders concerned about vision has a new President. Dr. Calvin Breslin (Toronto) took over in February 2005 from the outgoing President, Dr. Raymond LeBlanc (Dalhousie). Visit:





Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Unique Challenges for Research on Sensory and Communication Disorders - the Next
Ten Years

A Special Request for Stakeholder Input to the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences,
Mental Health and Addiction (INMHA)

Deadline for Submission of Briefs and Proposals October 15, 2006

more information at:
in English
in French


International Ocular Neuroprotection Symposium - Saturday, October 14, 2006

Don't miss the International Ocular Neuroprotection Symposium to be held in Toronto on October 14, 2006. You can register on-line at Click on "Register or Search for a Course NOW" and enter course code: OPT0606. You may pay by Visa or MasterCard. Registration must be received by October 6, 2006. Space is limited so please register early! Click here for more information.


"Form and Function in Ocular Disease" The multidisciplinary clinical and basic science meeting will be held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada between September 30 - October 1, 2006. The meeting will include guest faculty, who are renowned in areas ranging from retinal imaging to myopia to ethics, and the faculty members of the Dalhousie community. There is no registration cost. Please Click here for more information.


ARVO 2006: There was a wine & cheese reception for Canadian attendees May 3rd, 2006. 5:15-7:15pm in the Convention Centre. Hosted by the Foundation Fighting Blindness and the Vision Health Research Council of Canada. See Archives.




A major meeting on the Cost of Blindness was held in Toronto in January 2004. The report following from that meeting is available at:



Driving the vision health research agenda forward in Canada, The Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) and Vision Health Research Council (VHRC) are pleased to announce the launch of an agreement that assures the preservation and autonomy of VHRC within the auspices of the FFB.

The retirement of Dr. Jean-Réal Brunette, founder of VHRC, and the dissolution of the Sherbrooke Symposium Foundation had the potential to create a vacuum in Canada’s vision research community. “We welcome our new association with VHRC. The FFB has always been about excellence in eye research and providing a home for the Council is a logical fit,” says Sharon Colle, National Executive Director of the FFB

President of VHRC is Dr. Martin Steinbach, Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology and Biology at York University and Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Toronto. He is a prominent advocate for vision health research in Canada and perceives the union as advantageous. "The merging of FFB and VHRC will provide a true symbiosis, bringing our common goals of restoring sight and preventing blindness closer to fruition," Dr. Steinbach states.

The FFB and VHRC have vision health in common, but otherwise they are quite different entities. As Canada’s leading health charity supporting eye research, the FFB has led the charge to find the causes and treatment of inherited and degenerative retinal diseases including retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration. The mission of the Vision Health Research Council, a progressive group of vision health research professionals, is broadly based and includes the promotion of research in vision health and the presentation of the work and opinions of Canadian investigators of all disciplines, fields and aspects of science and medicine related to vision.

The VHRC facilitates vision health research in Canada by bringing together a large and powerful group of investigators and focusing their energies on the vision health priorities that are emerging in Canada. It sees its task as coordinating the efforts of Canadian vision research scientists, developing collaborative projects, and establishing an integrated research community capable of responding to the expanding vision health research needs.

“For 30 years the FFB has dedicated its resources to finding the causes, treatments and cures for degenerative retinal diseases,” says Colle. “Our alliance with the Vision Health Research Council can only enhance these efforts, and in the meantime help all Canadians suffering with vision loss. It is only by working together that we can succeed.’”

For information about The Foundation Fighting Blindness visit: and Vision Health Research Council:
Contact: Sharon Colle
The Foundation Fighting Blindness



Dr. Melanie C.W. Campbell, Dept of Physics and School of Optometry, University of Waterloo, shared the 2004 Rank Prize in Optoelectronics for work on the crystalline lens of the fish. Details can be found







Vision Health Research Council
Tuesday, April 27th 2004. 1:30 - 2:45 pm
Convention Centre, Ballroom B C D


  • Dr. Martin Steinbach, President VHRC: CIHR Updates
  • Dr. Ray Leblanc, Chair, National Coalition For Vision Health: Update On National Coalition Activities
  • Mr. Gerrard Grace, Vice-President, CNIB: CNIB Meeting On Costs Of Blindness
  • Dr. William Hodge, Ottawa Eye Institute: A Foundation For Large Clinical Research Collaboration In Canada. Please click here for ARVO 2004 Powerpoint Presentation
  • Dr. Isabelle Brunette, Univ. Montreal: The Future Of The VHRC

ARVO 2004 INTERNATIONAL ADVOCACY COMMITTEE meets Monday, April 26th, 2004, from 1:45-3:15 pm in Room 305 Convention Centre. Dr. Martin Steinbach will represent Canada and present information on "Policies and Regulations Affecting Researchers in Canada".

Last year's committee dealt with research funding and the presentations can be found at





Sarasota, Florida, April 30th-May 4th, 2004
A number of Canadian vision scientists have been key players in the new Vision Sciences Society, both as members of the Review Board and as active participants. VSS, which is now in its fourth year, holds an annual meeting at Sarasota, Florida, each May where cutting-edge research in basic visual science from retinal neurophysiology to selective attention is presented. This year, of the over 900 presentations, many will be by Canadian vision scientists and their students and postdocs.
The website for VSS is



The talks presented at the symposium:
Royal York Hotel, Toronto, Jan 31 - Feb 1st 2004

are available at




Vision Health Research Council Newsletter – April 2003
By Dr. Martin J. Steinbach

Reorganization of VHRC

Following the June 2002 CIHR-supported meeting in Toronto of leading Canadian vision health researchers, a Provisional Scientific Advisory Board (PSAB) was established. The meeting also had representatives present from non-government organizations (NGOs), several institutes of the CIHR, and the director of external funding of the National Eye Institute (NEI) of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The 36 members of the PSAB are listed on our revised website ( It is the first step in making VHRC become truly democratic by having an open nomination process that includes all of the vision health scientists across Canada. This participation will be based on Email communications. Readers of this message should check with their vision research colleagues; anyone who has not received this directly, and wants to be a part of the community of vision researchers in Canada, should send me their email addresses.

ARVO Update (1)

Canadian vision scientists have been prominent in ARVO’s organization and awards. This May, Jake Sivak (University of Waterloo, School of Optometry) receives the 2003 Proctor award. It will be given on Monday, May 5th, at 3:15 pm. There will be a reception in honour of Dr Sivak at the ARVO meeting, Please RSVP to

Last year Mike Walter (University of Alberta, Ophthalmology Dept.) won the young investigator award – the Cogan, and two years ago, David Martin Regan (York University, Psychology Dept.) won Canada’s first Proctor.

There will be a meeting of the International Advocacy Committee at this year’s ARVO. Speakers from a number of countries will discuss means of enhancing funding for eye research. I have been asked to represent Canada and will present a report, and be a discussant, at the Symposium on Monday, May 5th, at 1:45 pm. In Room 305 in the Convention Centre.

ARVO Update (2)

There will be another meeting for Canadians who wish to hear updates about VHRC, CIHR and National Coalition for Vision Health (NCVH). It will be held on Wednesday, May 7th, 2003, at 1:45 – 2:45 pm, Room 317/318 at the Convention Centre. NOTE: DISREGARD THE ERROR IN THE ARVO PROGRAM BOOK STATING THIS MEETING WILL BE ON TUESDAY.

Vision Health in the news

On Feb 18, 2003 there was a Globe & Mail 6 page insert sponsored by the National Coalition for Vision Health ( and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind ( The articles describe the frightening increases in blinding eye diseases, the shortage of ophthalmologists, some attempts at amelioration, and a description of some of the research efforts undertaken by Canadian scientists. Copies are available: just send me an email with your mailing address if you want to receive one. I will also bring some to ARVO to hand out.

News from CIHR:

The Institute for Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addiction (INMHA) is the “home” for vision-related initiatives. I sit on the advisory board of this Institute, providing a voice for vision health issues. The Institute is receptive to these issues and this is shown by the fact that one of the four strategic initiatives the Institute will develop will include vision and hearing loss. Further evidence that CIHR is more aware of vision research needs comes from the fact that the plenary lay speaker at the official opening of INMHA in Montreal in October 2002 was the legally blind CTV Bureau Chief Craig Olliver. Finally, the business cards for all of the officers and board members of this Institute are over-printed with Braille. The new CIHR is proving to be more vision friendly than the old MRC.

We are grateful to our founding Board of Directors and Governors for helping us establish VHRC. Having served with distinction, we acknowledge their contributions.

Letter To All Founding Members of the Board of Governors

English, Français

Past Board of Directors

Dr. Jean Réal Brunette, Sherbrooke,  President
Dr. Raymond Leblanc, Halifax, Vice President, Clinical Science

Dr. Martin Steinbach, Toronto, Vice President, Basic Science

Dr. Bruce Jackson, Ottawa, Counsellor, Ophthalmology

Dr. Graham Strong, Counsellor, Optometry

Past Board of Governors

Dr. Christian Casanova,  Montréal
Dr. Stuart Coupland, Ottawa

Dr. Max Cynader, Vancouver

Dr Howard Dickson, Halifax

Dr. Pierre Labelle, Montréal

Dr. Ian MacDonald, Edmonton

Dr. Jack Rootman, Vancouver

Dr. Jacob G. Sivak, Waterloo

Dr William K. Stell, Calgary

Dr. Graham Trope, Toronto

Dr. Duncan  Anderson

President, Nucleus Committee in Ophthalmology, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

Dr. Hélène Boisjoly
Presidente, Réseau de Recherche en Santé de la Vision du Québec

Dr. Alphonse Carew
President, The Canadian Association of Optometrists

M. Michel Clouthier

Gestion MD Management

Dr. Alan Cruess
President, Association of Canadian University Professors of Ophthalmology 

Dr. Don Farrell
Canadian National Institute for the Blind and E.A.Baker Foundation

Dr. Keith Gordon
Medical Devices Canada

Dr. Élise Héon
RP Research Foundation - Fighting Blindness

Dr. Daniel M. O'Brien
President, Canadian Ophthalmological Society

Mme.Hélène Plante
Medical Research Council of Canada

Dr Alain Rousseau:

Foundation des maladies de l'oeil, Québec

Dr. Pierre Simonet
Directeur, École d'Optométrie, Université de Montréal

Dr. Graham Strong
Director, School of Optometry, Universsity of Waterloo

Dr. Marian Zaharia
President, the Sherbrooke Symposium Foundation, Sherbrooke


History of the Vision Health Research Council



VHRC Loses VP and the Coalition Gets a President
PHVTF (May 2000)
Vision too is Neuroscience (February 2000)


House Standing Committee on Health (December1999)
ARVO Newsletter
Director of NEI Supports VHRC Vision Institute Project (November 1999)
Call to Action (June 1999)   
Report of VHRC Meeting at ARVO (May 1999)
Announcement to Canadian ARVO Attendees (May 1999)

Vision Research Capacity for a Vision Research Institute (Francaise Version)
President of ARVO writes to VHRC
VHRC and the CIHR Vision Project - A Call to Investigators (Francaise Version)     
Reply to Volpe by MRC (April 1999)
Letter from President to House Committee on Health (April 1999)
VHRC Meeting at Toronto Eye Institute (April 1999)
Notes on the Creation of an Institute (March 1999)


Call to all Vision Investigators  (March 1998)
Meeting with MRC President
CIHR Governance   (Excerpts)
CIHR Vision Institute Project (October 1998)