The “Class of 2020” may have the most appropriate name possible for a graduating class of optometrists. 2020 has been called the Year of Vision by eye care professionals around the world, and this class was set to hit the ground in the summer of 2020 with their license to practice in hand.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and what should have been the culmination of four years of intense study for optometry doctoral students was disrupted, leaving the students and the School of Optometry and Vision Science struggling to find solutions.
An experiment that began by testing the properties of quantum entanglement has led to the discovery of a new diagnostic tool that could help optometrists detect macular degeneration much earlier than was previously possible. Professor Ben Thompson and Andrew Silva, a post-doctoral fellow at the School of Optometry and Vision Science, partnered with colleagues from Waterloo's Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) on this groundbreaking research.
June 18th marked Convocation Day for the Class of 2020. But unlike other years, these graduates won’t walk across the stage to the applause of their peers, families and friends.
Thanks to the pandemic which cancelled in-person celebrations, they received their degrees in the mail, along with video congratulations from University President Feridun Hamdullahpur, a letter of congratulations from School Director Stanley Woo, and personal notes from staff and faculty.