Cornea, External Diseases & Refractive Surgery

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  • Fellowship Program Director: Simon Holland, MD, FRCSC
  • Matthew Bujak, MD, FRCSC
  • Alfonso Iovieno, MD, FRCSC
  • Gregory Moloney, MD, FRCSC
  • Sonia Yeung, MD, FRCSC


The University of British Columbia cornea and external disease fellowship is intended to offer the fellow a broad range of clinical and surgical experience in managing anterior segment disorders. The cornea surgical fellowship is  usually for one year  in duration, commencing in July. About 60% of the program is clinic-based, 30% is surgical and a 10% research component which can be modified depending on the fellow’s interests. An extra year as a research  or research/medical fellow is  desirable and usually done before the start of the surgical fellowship.


Fellows train in well-equipped facilities of the preceptors and the hospitals from which they operate: Vancouver General, Mount St. Joseph and St. Paul’s hospitals. Fellows gain clinical experience in caring for chronic anterior segment disorders (e.g. herpetic keratitis, limbal stem cell failure, keratoconus), the assessment and management of emergency corneal referrals (e.g. microbial keratitis, corneal perforation, trauma) and assist in the co-management of complex cases with other specialists. There is also extensive exposure to the corneal dystrophies.

The University of British Columbia cornea and external disease fellowship offers a strong surgical component, with a focus on corneal transplants (lamellar, penetrating, endothelial  and keratoprosthesis), small-incision cataract surgery, advanced pterygium surgery and management of intraocular lens complications.

Members of the corneal faculty have different  interests  contributing to the fellow  being exposed to a  wider range of corneal conditions

Additionally, fellows are exposed to complex anterior segment (artificial iris implantation and scleral/iris sutured intraocular lenses) and ocular surface reconstructive surgeries (amniotic membrane grafts and stem cell transplants). As one of the first centres in Canada to perform corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL) for Keratoconus, fellows gain in-depth experience with CXL and postoperative management. There is extensive exposure to the management of complex refractive surgery. There is no hands-on surgical training in Laser Refractive Surgery.

Eye banking experience is provided.

On average, fellows see 70-90 patients per week, divided between the clinics of the preceptors. At program’s end, fellows will have experienced between 50-100 corneal surgeries as primary surgeon, and approximately the same number as first assistant or observer. Additionally, fellows will participate in the teaching of medical residents, prepare and take part in talks for Ophthalmology Grand Rounds and hold interactive internet educational sessions as part of the outreach program. Fellows are also expected to present research done during their term as fellow at the University of British Columbia Ophthalmology Annual Research Day and are encouraged to attend local or international conferences. Fellows may be required to be on call.

Upon completion of the program, fellows should be confident, resourceful and capable of managing complicated anterior segment cases.

Vancouver is internationally regarded as offering a high quality of life with abundant recreational opportunities and a rich multicultural experience.

How to Apply

Fellowship for 2021 applications close October 15, 2020. Successful candidates should be self-motivated, flexible learners, research-oriented and possess’ excellent interpersonal skills. Fellowship applications are accepted up to two years in advance, at the discretion of the head of the cornea service. Fellowship selection is the responsibility of the three authorized preceptors: Drs. Simon Holland, Martin McCarthy, and Sonia Yeung. Preference is given to candidates from regions where need is greatest and where the fellow will return to a teaching position. Preference will also be given to candidates from developing countries where there are high rates of corneal blindness and unmet surgical need.

The fellowship is unfunded so potential candidates should provide evidence of sufficient funding or financial support for the duration of the program. Fellows must be licensed or be eligible for licensing in their country of origin and must obtain an educational license from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia. Eligibility for the College is based on evidence of completion of a residency training equivalent to that in Canada and success in the originating country’s specialty examinations. Fluency in English is essential, documentation of which may be requested. Fellows are responsible for mandatory medical malpractice insurance which can be obtained through the Canadian Medical Protective Association at a fellowship rate.

Candidates from non-French or non-English speaking countries must have ILETS minimum score of 7 in each  component for licensure (College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC does not consider TOEFL). Candidates must pass the test and provide a valid Test Report Form.

Non-surgical and research fellowships may be possible – please contact Dr. Simon Holland if interested.

Interested applicants must contact the supervisor as there are no applications available.  Further instructions will be sent to the applicant once they are accepted into the fellowship program by the supervisor.


Dr. Simon Holland
Eye Care Centre
2550 Willow St
Vancouver BC V5Z 3N9
Tel: +1 (604) 875-5850