Vitreoretinal Surgery - St. Michael's Hospital


  • Dr. David Chow, Fellowship Director
  • Dr. Filiberto Altomare
  • Dr. Alan Berger
  • Dr. Louis Giavedoni
  • Dr. David Wong
  • Dr. Rajeev Muni

Contact Information

St. Michael's Hospital
30 Bond Street
Toronto ON M5B 1W8
Fax: 416-867-3651


  • St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael's Hospital, a full-service academic teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto, is located in the heart of downtown Toronto with easy access via public transit or car. The hospital is unique in that it serves not only the surrounding community but as well it also serves as a provincial center for many services including vitreoretinal surgery. Scheduled hospital obligations generally extend daily from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is expected that time not engaged in patient responsibilities will be used to further academic pursuits such as research and teaching. Since fellows have patient responsibilities, all absences during the week must be cleared well in advance to ensure proper patient care and follow-up.

Fellowship Objectives

To develop outstanding vitreoretinal surgeons and prepare the fellow for an academic career by

  1. Gaining exposure and developing expertise in the diagnosis and management of surgical, as well as medical diseases of the retina and vitreous.
  2. Stimulating ideas and developing research skills in clinical and/or basic science research
  3. Developing teaching skills through mentoring residents, medical students, and preparing presentations.
  4. Developing critical and innovative thinking in the approach to vitreoretinal diseases

General Description

The fellowship was established over 40 years ago by Dr. Michael Shea, a pioneer in vitreoretinal surgery in Canada. Since that time, over 80 vitreoretinal fellows have been trained in the diagnosis and management of diseases of the retina and vitreous. The large volume of patients seen and treated annually, the varied training backgrounds of the Attending Staff and working within the largest residency program in the country, provides a rich environment for developing an academic vitreoretinal surgeon with excellence in research, teaching, and clinical skills. As a result, many of our past fellows have established themselves in academic practices throughout Canada, USA, South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
Clinical Duties
The fellowship is 2 years in length. There are on average 2 fellows accepted per year. In a typical week, the Fellow will spend approximately two and a half days seeing patients which will include laser experience and minor procedures, two days in surgery, and occasional time dedicated to research. The Fellow's time will be split amongst the six vitreoretinal specialists in numerous rotations per year. The Fellow will work toward assessing and managing most office and emergency patients, will need to be familiar with all surgical patients, and take retinal call. The Fellow can expect to see a wide breadth and depth of both medical and surgical retinal problems. The second year will focus on developing the thought processes and fine surgical skills required for dealing with difficult and/or complex vitreoretinal problems. Surgery will be allocated in a graded fashion of responsibility, and a talented surgeon can expect an excellent surgical experience. Each Fellow will have the opportunity to supplement their educational experience with clinics at Princess Margaret hospital in Ocular Oncology and at St Michael’s hospital in Uveitis. The amount of exposure in each of these areas can be varied by the Fellow based on their desires. ROP screening is also taught. 


Many opportunities for both basic science and clinical research are available to the Fellow.  It is hoped that each Fellow will be the primary author on at least one original, prospectively conducted research project, and that it will be sufficiently completed prior to the end of the second year, to be written up in manuscript form for submission to a peer reviewed journal. Furthermore, it is expected that fellows will present a piece of research at the annual Departmental Research Day. 


From time to time the Fellow will need to present cases and develop topics for residency teaching, medical student teaching, and help in running the journal club. At our hospital there are many new educational directives for the Fellow; including a Case of the Week that the Fellow email to all attendings to discuss online, a didactic lecture schedule dictated by the Fellow desire, a surgical video series where Fellow present their own videos and are critiqued, a review of what they learnt at educational meetings presented as “10 things I learnt at …”, and group staff discussions of clinically common entities. 


2 weeks’ vacation per year.


Up to 2 weeks of conference time may be taken on approval of the fellowship director. 


The Fellow will be evaluated every six months. In addition, the Fellow will be asked to evaluate the fellowship experience and express their comments on how their fellowship is progressing, including areas they would like to work on.


2 years.


~ $55,000 CAD/annum 

Application Process

Applications are available online through the SF Match site or through our administrative secretary listed above. The fellowship begins on July 1st each year and is completed two years later on June 30th. All applicants are encouraged to submit a completed application packet as early as possible. The last day for accepting an application is July 31st of the year prior to beginning the fellowship in July. Interviews are usually granted in early November, and a decision is usually made in early December. Most of our fellows are selected through the San Francisco fellowship match. 

The following will be required when you apply:

  • A copy of your medical school transcript.
  • Your ophthalmology fellowship match number.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • A personal statement letter
  • A current CV stating, but not limited to, your educational experience, degrees obtained, research experience, publications, presentations, hobbies and interests.

Your letters of recommendation must be written by either associate colleagues or attending staff involved in your education. They should be sent directly to:

  • San Francisco Matching Program at

Based on this information, you may be granted an interview, which you will be required to attend in order to be considered for the position.