University of Waterloo to Open Canada’s First VR Optometry Lab

University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry and Vision Science will soon be home to Canada’s first virtual reality optometry lab.

Funded by an $800,000 investment from national eye care provider FYidoctors, the lab is designed to accelerate learning and skill development for optometrists through virtual simulations. The FYidoctors Simulation Lab will have five Eyesi Binocular Indirect Ophthalmoscopes (BIO), augmented reality simulators that create an advanced 3D simulation of the eye for a life-like retinal examination experience.

The virtual experience simulates a patient’s eye, giving students the opportunity to practice identifying diverse cases such as a detached retina, macular degeneration, or diabetes.

“With the simulators, optometry students will now take the time they need to practice and master skills as they progress through increasingly complex training modules,” says Stanley Woo, Director of the School of Optometry and Vision Science at Waterloo. “During valuable lab time, the foundational skills will be better established enabling our faculty to take the students more efficiently from good to great.”

The funding from FYidoctors is the largest sponsorship that the University of Waterloo’s Optometry school has received to date.

“Investing in students, and in their clinical education, will ultimately enhance patient care in the communities in which we serve, and keep Canada at the forefront of optometry and vision science,” says Dr. Al Ulsifer, CEO and Chairman of FYidoctors. “Simulation technology is the future of healthcare learning and is directly aligned with FYidoctors spirit of harnessing innovation to help our patients lead more fulfilling lives.”

This is only phase one of the Simulation lab, with more to come at a later date, including the addition Eyesi Slit Lamp simulators: new technology that will enable students to practice the handling of devices for virtual corneal exams.

This isn’t the University of Waterloo’s first technology partnership of the year, as the school was named part of a new cryptocurrency research project. It also received investments from Cisco to help pursue research into 5G technology.