When: Thursday, 11 November 2021

Where:  Virtual
                    In-person at The Hilton Niagara Falls Hotel
1:00PM to 2:30PM


Vision loss and impairment is neither inevitable nor associated with growing older.  While 2.2 billion people around the world today have a vision impairment, at least 50% could have been prevented.


This is an unprecedented time in history with a rapidly ageing global population and a significant increase in the prevalence of diabetes.  As such, integrated people-centred care provides a continuum of health interventions and has the potential to address the full spectrum of eye conditions, according to the needs of the individual throughout their life course.


With the backdrop of the WHO World Report on Vision, the Presidential Symposium on Vision Health seeks to convey new knowledge on coordinated care and treatment, emerging policy issues on biosimilars in ophthalmology, the challenging consequences of end-organ damage, and the role of civil society in improved care outcomes from both a vision and functional perspective.

Register now

To download the program schedule for the Presidential Symposium on Vision Health, click here.

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Dr. R. Geoff Williams

Clinical Associate professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Calgary

He practices in his office at the Southern Alberta Eye Center, and operates at both the Rocky View Hospital and SAEC Surgical. He began his university education at the University of Calgary, graduating with a BSc in microbiology in 1982, and then his MD in 1985. 

In 1990 he completed his Ophthalmology residency at the University of Alberta in Edmonton then moved to New York City to complete a two-year Vitreoretinal Fellowship at the Cornell University Medical Center, New York Hospital. He moved back to Calgary, set up practice as a retinal specialist. He later co-founded Calgary Retina Consultants Dr. Amin Kherani, and soon after the Southern Alberta Eye Center.

He is currently the Medical Director of SAEC Surgical, the director of the Calgary retinal fellowship program and is active in residency training programs. He is a member of the Retina Society, as well as the Canadian, American and European Retina Societies. 

He and his wife Barbara have interests in boating, nature photography, architecture and travel.  They have two children Laurel 30, and Connor 28, both of whom wakeboard better than their parents.

Dr Ashish Sharma

Consultant on Retina and Head Research, Lotus Eye Hospital & Institute

Dr Sharma completed his retina fellowship from University of California Irvine, CA, USA (2006-2008). He served as part-time faculty at University of California, Irvine, CA, USA.

Furthermore, he perused his research interest and joined USA#1 ranked Ophthalmology institute “Bascom Palmer Eye Institute” University of Miami, Florida, USA (2009-2010). Before Joining Lotus Eye Hospital, Coimbatore India, he served as faculty at LVPEI Hyderabad, India. His areas of interest are ARMD, DME, and Ocular Pharmacotherapy with special emphasis on biosimilars in ophthalmology and recent imaging techniques. He is the innovator of the patent pending fundus imaging device MII Ret Cam.

He has been awarded as the International Ophthalmologist Education Award by American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) Board of trustees.  

He has over 80 publications in peer-reviewed journals along with chapters in high impact journals and books. He is on the reviewing and editorial boards of many high impact ophthalmology journals

Mr. Peter Holland,
Chief Executive Officer, International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness

Peter Holland was appointed the Chief Executive of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), the overarching alliance for the global eye health sector, in March 2018.  This was not his first foray into eye care: Peter had gained some insight into the challenges people with sight loss face when he worked at the Royal National Institute for Blind People developing their strategy. He strongly believes that avoidable sight loss and blindness is an injustice and eliminating it would transform the lives and opportunities of millions of people.

Peter has always been interested in achieving social impact and social change and has looked for opportunities throughout his career to do so. He was formally Chief Executive of OPM Group, an employee-owned social purpose business which provides public engagement and social impact research and evaluation services.

After 10 years developing primary care services in the NHS in south London, Peter joined the FCO where his roles included postings to India and Afghanistan, senior policy roles on counter narcotics and negotiating international intellectual property agreements. At IAPB Peter is taking a lead at a global level to promote eye health and to ensure its critical importance to the delivering of UN sustainable Development Goals is recognised.

Dr David Wong

 Associate Professor, University of Toronto, and Ophthalmologist-in-Chief, St. Michael’s Hospital

Dr Wong is an Honours graduate from the University of Toronto’s Medical Doctorate program who specializes in Vitreous and Retina surgery after completing a residency in ophthalmology at U of T and a fellowship with Dr. Michael Shea in Toronto followed by a second fellowship with Dr. Stanley Chang in Columbia, New York.  

Dr. Wong is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and is certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology.  He is also a member of the Canadian Ophthalmology Society, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Society of Retina Specialists and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.  His present Academic appointment includes Associate Professor, University of Toronto and is on staff at St. Michael’s Hospital, Oakville Trafalgar Hospital and Trillium Hospital. He is Ophthalmologist-in-Chief at St. Michael’s Hospital and sits on numerous hospital and University committees.

Dr. Wong is on the board of directors for the 20/20 Ophthalmic Biomaterials Network, and consultant to several companies in industry as well as on the steering committee of the Vision Acadamy. Numerous awards have been given to him locally and internationally including the American Society of Vitreoretinal Surgeons (ASRS) Senior Award.

He is the past director of the fellowship programs in the Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences at the University of Toronto and has founded the national fellowship committee in the Canadian Ophthalmology Society. Locally he started the GTA Retina subspecialty group rounds in 1998 which has been running ever since. He has been a frequent invited speaker in North and South America, Asia and Europe and has authored numerous scientific papers and book chapters in various areas of vitreoretinal diseases including trauma, complex surgeries, new surgical techniques, AMD, retinal vein occlusions and diabetes. In addition he commits time to do missionary work including being one of the founders of the Philippines Urban Angels Mission group. His recent interests include better diabetic retinopathy surveillance that may catch the disease in the earlier stages and developing new ophthalmic biomaterials.