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University of Waterloo, in Partnership with FYidoctors, Creates First Optometry VR Lab in Canada

By Staff
Monday, October 8, 2018 12:21 AM

CALGARY, Alberta, Canada—The University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry and Vision Science and national eyecare provider FYidoctors jointly announced the launch of the FYidoctors Simulation Lab, the first optometry lab of its kind in Canada. The new lab, funded in part through an $800,000 investment from FYidoctors, is the largest single sponsorship in the school’s history, and will change the way optometry students in Canada are educated, the organizations said. With a total cost of $1.5 million, the new VR lab offers state-of-the-art equipment that simulates a patient’s eye, providing students with an opportunity to practice diagnosing vision problems and eye diseases.

“With the simulators, optometry students are enabled to practice and master skills as they progress through increasingly complex training modules. This additional lab time will allow students to build the foundational skills required for our faculty to take the students from good to great,” said Dr. Stanley Woo, director of the School of Optometry and Vision Science.

The simulation equipment will supplement real-life training and will also provide hundreds of real patient cases which will help students to recognize, identify and diagnose eye and systemic disease more quickly and confidently. The lab will initially include five Eyesi Bionocular Indirect Opthalmoscopes (BIO) which are a state of the art augmented reality simulator for training of retinal examinations and provides a highly realistic and dynamic 3D simulation of the anatomical structures of the eye and ophthalmoscope optics.

Phase two of the lab, to be unveiled at a later date, will include the addition of the Eyesi Slit Lamp simulators.


Fyidoctors' CEO, Dr. Alan Ulsifer, watches a student in the new University of Waterloo Simulation lab.

Dr. Al Ulsifer, CEO and chairman of FYidoctors and Waterloo alumnus, said of the investment, “When we formed FYidoctors 10 years ago, we created it with a vision to enhance the lives of people, in our communities, and across the world. Investing in students, and in their clinical education, will ultimately enhance patient care in the communities in which we serve, and keep Canada on the forefront of optometry and vision science. Simulation technology is the future of health care learning and is directly aligned with FYidoctors’ spirit of harnessing innovation to help our patients lead more fulfilling lives.”

Dr. Ulsifer led the formation of FYidoctors in 2008 with a group of University of Waterloo optometry grads who had a vision to create a national organization of optometrist-led eyecare clinics. Today, FYidoctors is the world’s largest optometrist owned eyecare company, and operates more than 180 optical locations across Canada.

The University of Waterloo is one of two optometry schools in Canada, making the University of Waterloo a national resource for training vision care professionals and vision science researchers.
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