Cornea – External Disease & Refractive Surgery


Dr. Sonia N. Yeung, MD PHD, Associate Professor and Division Head
Dr. S. P. Holland, MD, Clinical Professor
Dr. A. Iovieno, MD PhD, Clinical Associate Professor
Dr. H. Khan, MD, Clinical Associate Professor
Dr. D.T.C. Lin, MD, Clinical Associate Professor
Dr. M. McCarthy, MD, Clinical Professor
Dr. C. Nelson, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor
Dr. M. Orr, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor
Dr. D. F. Rollins, MD, Clinical Professor
Dr. P.J. Dubord, MD, Clinical Professor Emeritus
Dr. J. Richards, MD, Associate Professor Emeritus


The University of British Columbia Department of Ophthalmology Cornea Service consists of Dr. Sonia Yeung (Division Head and Medical Director of the Eyebank of British Columbia), Dr. Simon Holland, Dr. Alfonso Iovieno, Dr. David Rollins, and Dr. Martin McCarthy. All are fellowship trained specialists in Cornea, External Diseases, Refractive Surgery, and Cataract Surgery. Dr. Alfonso Iovieno has additional training in complex anterior segment surgery. Dr. Sonia Yeung completed an ocular surface fellowship in limbal stem cell transplantation and keratoprostheses. The corneal service provides clinical care to patients from the Lower Mainland and throughout the province of British Columbia. The Division provides over 700 corneal transplants and 3500 cataract surgeries annually.

Several members have administrative responsibilities at Providence Heath Care, Vancouver General Hospital, and with the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences (UBC). Dr. Sonia Yeung is the Medical Director of the Eye Bank of British Columbia. The Eye Bank has been fully accredited by the Eye Bank Association of America for over 20 years. Pre-cut tissue for Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty is being provided. Pre-stripped Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty will be implemented in 2020. Dr Holland is the fellowship training director and the director of the resident teaching clinic at Fort St. John.

Members of the corneal service are actively involved in clinical teaching of medical students, residents, and fellows and provide continuing medical education to practicing general physicians, optometrists, and ophthalmologists through UBC Dept of Ophthalmology Grand Rounds and special CME events. Teaching responsibilities include 40 hours per week of resident supervision in the cornea clinics and 2-3 days per week of operating room teaching of cataract and anterior segment surgery.There are 20 hours a year of formal clinical corneal rounds. The Faculty collectively teach the residents during the Cornea Academic Half Day Blocks. Drs. Yeung and Iovieno also provide wet lab surgical teaching for resident and fellows in cataract and corneal surgery, including the basic principles of corneal transplantation. All members of the corneal service have lectured at local, provincial, and national and international meetings including the Canadian Ophthalmology Society, the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, World Cornea Congress, and the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Dr Yeung and Dr Iovieno were recipients of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences (UBC) Teaching Awards in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

The Division has an active clinical and basic science research program (see Publications). Dr. Holland is an international leader in understanding the causes of diffuse lamellar keratitis. His expertise is sought out by surgical clinics all over the world. He has published extensively on refractive surgery, including the area of topography guided PRK for the management of keratoconus. Dr McCarthy has developed considerable experience in lens power calculation following laser refractive surgery. Dr. Rollins has headed large epidemiological studies on cataract surgery outcomes. Dr Iovieno is internationally recognized for his expertise in ocular infections and advanced techniques for corneal transplantation. He is also the recipient of several national and international research grants aimed at developing new medical devices for use in corneal transplantation. Dr Yeung was a past recipient of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Gold Medal in Surgery for her research on the systemic delivery magnetic nanoparticles to the eye, the Claes Dohlman Fellow Award from the Cornea Society (Harvard University), and the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences (UBC) Faculty research award. In addition to clinical research on corneal transplantation outcomes and ocular surface disease, she runs a basic science laboratory focused on the corneal imaging, and the growth and characterization of ocular cells.

The corneal fellowship program is internationally recognized and has trained research and clinical fellows from around the world. The fellows receive a high volume of clinical and surgical training and a rich academic and research experience. Many have returned home to become clinical and academic leaders. Dr Holland and McCarthy have provided surgical services and education to local ophthalmologists. Dr Holland has been a key member of ORBIS for almost 20 years.

The most up-to-date procedures have been introduced by all members of the department including:

  • Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty, Descemet stripping only, and Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty for endothelial dysfunction.
  • Deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty for stromal scarring and keratoconus
  • Corneal collagen cross linking for ectasia
  • Intrastromal rings and topography guided laser for keratoconus
  • Limbal stem cell transplantation for limbal stem cell disease
  • Keratoprostheses (such as Boston Keratoprosthesis and other types)
  • Medical and surgical management of ocular surface squamous neoplasia
  • Ocular surface reconstruction with amniotic membrane and buccal mucosa
  • Iridoplasty and artificial iris implantation

Most Recent Publications (2018-2020): 17

Tong, C.M., Iovieno, A., Yeung, S.N. (2020) Topical insulin for neurotrophic corneal ulcers. Accepted to Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology April 2020.

Majd, M., Wang, J.C., Teichman, J., Raewyn, B., O’Donnell, H., Yeung, S.N. (2020) Risk factors associated with severity of dry eye syndrome in patients with ocular graft-versus-host-disease based on the National Institute of Health grading criteria. Accepted to Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology November 2019.

Qiao, G.L., Ling, J., Wong, T., Yeung, S.N., Iovieno, A. (2020) Candida keratitis: epidemiology, management and clinical outcomes. ePub Cornea Apr 6.

Chang, W.C., Abe, R., Anderson, P., Anderson, W., Ardern-Jones, M., Beachkofsky, T., (…), Iovieno, A., (…), Yeung, S.N., (…) Carleton, B. (2020) SJS/TEN 2019: From Science to Translation. Journal of Dermatological Science. ePub March 7.

Ming, W., Dewan, N., Yeung, S.N., Iovieno, A. (2020) Concomitant herpetic keratitis and acute retinal necrosis: clinical features  and outcomes. Eye Journal. Epub Feb 24.

Sorenson, A.L., Holland, S., Tran, K., Evans, D.J., Lin, M.C., Mamalis, N., Chang, D.F. (2020) Diffuse lamellar keratitis associated with tabletop autoclave biofilms: case series and review. Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery Mar;46(3):340-349.

Ung, L., Acharya, N.R., Agarwal, T., Alfonso, E.C., Bagga, B., (…), Iovieno, A., (…), Chodosh, J. (2019) Bull World Health Organ Dec 1;97(12):854-856.

Sklar, J., Wendel, C., Zhang, A., Chan, C.C., Yeung, S.N., Iovieno, A. (2019) Did collagen cross-linking reduce the requirement for corneal transplantation in keratoconus? The Canadian experience. Cornea Nov;38(11):1390-1394.

Lin, D.T.C., Holland, S.P., Verma, S., Hogden, J., Aruba-Mosquera, S. (2019) Immediate and short term visual recovery after SmartSurfACEphotorefractive keratectomy. Journal of Optometry Oct-Dec;12(4);240-247.

Qiao, G., O’Donnell, H., Yeung, S.N., Iovieno, A. (2019) A case of bilateral Wessely Rings in a contact lens wearer. Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology Aug;54(4):e182-3.

Dewan, N., Ming, W., Holland, S.P., Yeung, S.N., Iovieno, A. (2019) Oral miltefosine as adjunctive treatment for recalcitrant Acanthamoeba keratitis. Cornea Jul;38(7):914-7.

Neri, A., Moramarco, A., Iovieno, A., Fontana, L. (2019) Management of Descemet membrane’s folds after deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty: Descemet membrane-tucking technique. Cornea Jun;38(6):772-774.

Fontana, L., Moramarco, A., Mandara E., Russello, G., Iovieno, A. (2019) Interface infectious keratitis after anterior and posterior lamellar keratoplasty. Clinical features and treatment strategies. A review. British Journal of Ophthalmology Mar;103(3):307-314.

Liu, R.T., Yeung, S.N., Carleton, B., Etminan, M. (2018) Risk of Anterior Segment Complications Associated with the Live Herpes Zoster Vaccine: Evidence From a Health-Claim Database. Cornea Aug;37(8):952-6.

Bae, S.S., Yeung, S.N., Chan, C.C. (2018) Treatment and resolution of filamentary keratitis in a patient with stiff person syndrome. Cornea. Feb;37(2):258-9.

Termote, K., Joe, A.W., Butler, A.L., McCarthy, M., Blondeau, J.M., Iovieno, A., Holland, S.P., Yeung, S.N. (2018) Epidemiology of Bacterial Corneal Ulcers at Tertiary Centres in Vancouver, BC. Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology. Aug;53(4):330-336.

Wise, S., Dubord, P.J., Yeung, S.N. (2018) Double bubble with the big-bubble technique during deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty. International Ophthalmology. Jun;38(3):1313-6.