Seeing Beyond 20/20

Young girl gazes into distance

SEEING BEYOND 20/20 - Waterloo Eye Institute (WEI)

At the University of Waterloo's School of Optometry and Vision Science, our mission is to help people see.

Seeing Beyond 20/20 is a $35 million campaign that will support the creation of the Waterloo Eye Institute, Canada’s leading eye and vision care center of excellence.  As well as providing exceptional care to patients, it will leverage the expertise of the School’s faculty, its infrastructure, and the power of Canada’s most innovative university to address the global vision crisis. 

With a new, modernized clinic, students will gain rich experiences by working together with other health professionals committed to integrated patient care. This inter-professional learning environment will give graduating students the skills that they need to lead their own collaborative and integrated practices as active professionals. 

The Waterloo Eye Institute will foster an environment where research that extends from cell to society will inform treatments and technologies can be immediately applied to advance health and vision care for patients – globally and right here in Canada. Using the eye as a window to the brain, the School will leverage its expertise in biomedical sciences, artificial intelligence and imaging to study and create treatments for vision, diabetes, macular degeneration, glaucoma, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Seeing Beyond 20/20 Campaign progress to date

Remote video URL

The Waterloo Eye Institute will include

Advanced eye and vision care services

We will advance eye and vision care services by:

• leveraging our expertise in ocular disease (glaucoma, diabetes and AMD), pediatrics, contact lens and low vision rehabilitation, and

• increasing patient access to specialized care in growing areas such as vision therapy, concussion, myopia control, and dry eye disease.

Expanded teleoptometry capacity

An eye and vision care teleoptometry centre will:

• create a vital hub for diagnosing eye disease, and

• allow patients in remote or underserviced areas to receive care via teleoptometry technology.

Enhanced clinical education

The Waterloo Eye Institute will build a paradigm that empowers optometrists to deliver a new level of patient care by:

• creating a model of collaborative practice that can be replicated across Canada to improve access and efficiency in patient care.

• using telehealth technology to diagnose and connect patients with providers.

• training optometrists to the highest scope of practice in North America so they’re prepared to meet their patients’ needs, no matter where they practice.

• providing unique learning opportunities for students to work side-by-side with other health care professionals.

• expanding continuing professional development opportunities, so that all optometrists in Canada can expand and update their skills.

Innovation through vision research

The Waterloo Eye Institute will harness the University’s powerful research network to bring new techniques and treatments from the lab to the clinic and to enhance the delivery of patient care.

By embracing “the eye as the window to the brain,” we’ll create an ocular imaging research centre that builds on our expertise in eye-brain interaction. Through this centre, we will:

• encourage collaboration among experts in imaging, artificial intelligence, vision science and brain health from across the University of Waterloo and around the world.

• develop new tools for optometrists and other healthcare providers to diagnose, monitor and treat eye and brain conditions such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, diabetic retinopothy and genetic diseases.

• create new treatments for vision loss that focus on improving neural processing to potentially restore sight in patients with Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), stroke and amblyopia.

Who We Help

Seeing Beyond 20/20 Campaign Leadership

Together, we’ll provide the right care, at the right time, in the right place.

To learn more about how you can get involved, please contact Kelsey Gagnon, Associate Director, Advancement, School of Optometry & Vision Science | 519-502-3131 |