The following Case Report Guideline will provide information on how to successfully complete the mandatory CCSO Fellowship Case Report requirement. Candidates are requested to follow the Canadian Journal of Optometry (CJO) Submission Guideline, and to review previously published issues of the CJO to optimize the preparation of case reports – link here:  Canadian Journal of Optometry – Issues.


As detailed in the CCSO Fellowship Points Guide:

  • A minimum of three (3) case reports are required to earn the Fellowship designation.
  • There is no maximum number of Case Reports that may be submitted.
  • Each approved Case Report earns twenty (20) points towards your Fellowship designation.
  • All Case Reports must be of a publishable quality. We encourage you to submit at least one Case Report for publication in the Journal of your choice.
  • As described below, all Case Reports will be evaluated by members of the CCSO Fellowship Panel. Should a Case Report be deemed unacceptable or incomplete, the paper will be returned to you with constructive suggestions on appropriate changes to be completed before you resubmit the report.
  • Please submit your first case report to the CCSO Fellowship Review Panel for valuable feedback before submitting the rest of your reports.

Purpose of Case Reports

The purpose of requiring written Case Reports to earn your CCSO Fellowship designation is to demonstrate:

  • Your commitment to lifelong learning.
  • Your written communication skills.
  • Your understanding of the diagnosis and treatment of your selected patient.
  • An overview of your clinical skills and knowledge base.
  • An understanding of how different health care practitioners may be involved with the care of your patient in today’s team-based health care.

How to Select an Appropriate Patient

Review the office charts of patients that you have examined, diagnosed, treated and managed over the past few years. The cases you select can be patients that you diagnosed and treated yourself; or, patients you diagnosed but referred to another health care practitioner for treatment.

Your Case Reports can be on any patient and any condition, even if they are not colorful and exotic. The CCSO Fellowship Panel wants to understand your everyday skill set and knowledge base when they review your submitted reports, not how rare of a condition you could diagnose and treat.

We also encourage applicants to create reports on a wide variety of patients / conditions to demonstrate the breadth of your everyday skill set and knowledge base.

How to Create an Acceptable Case Report

Once you have selected an appropriate patient:

  • Assemble the complete patient exam record including any referral letters, auxiliary test results (diagnostic imaging, lab test results, additional binocular vision testing, visual fields, OCT, photos, etc.).
  • Conduct a literature search for articles on a similar (or same) topic / condition.
  • Review the CCSO Case Report examples to get a better idea of what is expected to be included in your Case Report submission
  • Review Case Reports in other Journals to get a better appreciation of what is required of a “publishable quality” Case Report.
  • Start writing you first draft according to the report layout in the following section.

Recommended Case Report Layout

The following section summarizes the recommended CCSO Case Report layout:

  • Language – The report should be written in third person, past tense.
  • Cover Page – The front page of your report should always be a cover letter that includes your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, case report title and a brief abstract (approximately 5 – 10 lines) of the attached report. We also require that you include a list of key words used in your paper.
  • Introduction Page – The second page of your report should be a 1-2 paragraph introduction of the case that provides appropriate background information on the topic.
  • Case Report Body – This is the main part of your report. Please ensure that you eliminate all references that may identify the patient. This section should include:
    • A detailed summary of the patient’s initial visit to your office that lists their chief complaint, medical condition, family and personal medical and visual history, medications, allergies and gender, age and ethnicity (if pertinent to the case).
    • A detailed summary of all test results from all patient visits to your office.
    • A detailed summary of all correspondence / tests conducted by other practitioners.
    • A complete differential diagnosis including the thought process on how you arrived at your diagnosis.
    • A summary of possible treatment options including the reasons why you chose the treatment option for that patient.
  • Discussion – This section is used to allow you to describe the case and your decision making process in greater detail. You may include a further discussion on differential diagnosis, any possible variation in standard of care (and why you had to deviate from it) as well as any other possible treatment options (including a greater delineation of why you chose the treatment option you did). Any information gathered from other sources should be properly documented.
  • Conclusion – This section should summarize the key “take-aways” or clinical pearls you learned from this patient.
  • References – The last page should include a bibliography of all references used in the creation of your Case Report. It is recommended that all references be within the last ten (10) years.


Plagiarism is not allowed. All submitted work is expected to be the applicant’s own original writing. As noted above, should the need arise to include information taken from other sources, you must acknowledge these sources appropriately. Please contact the CCSO office if you have any questions regarding plagiarism or unsure whether what you are submitting constitutes plagiarism.

Review of Case Reports

All Case Reports are evaluated by the CCSO Fellowship Panel. We consider the quality of your submitted work to be a direct reflection of the standard of patient care in your office.

The CCSO Fellowship Panel also considers the following during their review:

  • Conducting Appropriate Test Procedures – The Panel reviews whether you deemed it necessary and conducted additional testing procedures based on the results of other test procedures you performed. Your review of the reasons behind your decisions will assist the Panel in gaining a better appreciation of your clinical skills and general knowledge. This can be expanded on in the Discussion section of your report as you explain the reasoning behind the series of tests that were deemed necessary in order for you to arrive at your diagnosis.
  • Appropriate Treatment – Although, optometric scope of practice legislation varies from one province to another, the Review Panel will judge your selection of treatment (including referral or co-management) in the context of your province/territory. This allows you to demonstrate your clinical knowledge regardless of legislative limitations in your jurisdiction.
  • Writing Style, Grammar and Spell-Check – A well-written and referenced paper demonstrates a commitment to excellence. We encourage you to review your paper and have others review your paper several different times to ensure that all possible spelling and grammar mistakes are corrected.


Please address all questions to the CCSO office. Questions pertaining to specific topics or areas will be forwarded to the appropriate committee or individual.

Notification of Acceptance

Once the Fellowship Review Panel makes a decision on the acceptance of your submitted work, the CCSO office will contact you directly to inform you of their decision. Once you have accumulated all points required for fellowship, the CCSO office will again contact you to arrange a mutually convenient time for your Oral Exam.