The University of Waterloo‘s School of Optometry and Vision Science have announced a new virtual reality (VR) training lab, which will help Canada’s next generation of optometrists learn how to diagnose vision problems and eye diseases more quickly and accurately. This new lab will accelerate the development of essential clinical skills for optometrists by simulate a patient’s eye in an immersive and authentic manner.
At a total cost of $1.5 million (CAD) the lab has been funded by an $800,000 investment by national eye care provider FYidoctors, and will be the first of its kind in Canada. The FYidoctors Simulation Lab will ensure the school at the University of Waterloo remains at the forefront in optometrist education in North America. The VR experience provides students with an opportunity to use the technology to practice on many cases that range from wellness through to diseases such as macular degeneration and diabetes, in a safe and controlled environment.
“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,” said 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 simulation equipment will supplement real-life training, which is limited. It will also provide hundreds of real patient cases to practice binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy (BIO), which will enable students to recognize, identify and diagnose eye and systemic disease with more speed and confidants.
“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 at the forefront of optometry and vision science,” said Dr. Al Ulsifer, CEO and Chairman of FYidoctors and Waterloo alumnus. “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 follows the recent news that researchers at the University of Waterloo had developed a system that would allow them to predict motion sickness and counteract the effects of it for VR users.
For more on the work of the University of Waterloo in the future, along with all things VR, keep reading VRFocus.