A major gift from IRIS brings the Waterloo Eye Institute a significant step closer to reality

Thanks to a leadership gift from IRIS The Visual Group, the University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry and Vision Science has turned a corner in its quest to build the Waterloo Eye Institute (WEI), a state-of-the-art facility supporting advances in vision research, optometric education and patient care.

The $2.5 million gift from IRIS was announced at a cornerstone celebration at Waterloo’s School of Optometry and Vision Science on September 19. The new gift is in addition to an earlier contribution of $1 million made by IRIS in November 2022.

This monumental support from IRIS will allow the University of Waterloo to begin construction on the WEI next year. The $35 million Seeing Beyond 2020 campaign has also been supported by many other generous donors.

“Our support for the WEI aligns with IRIS’s commitment to funding eye and vision research and innovation,” said Dr. Daryan Angle (OD ’01), Vice President of business development at IRIS. “We hope to advance the profession in a way that keeps optometry in Canada healthy, strong and moving forward."


Photo: Dr. Daryan Angle, Optometrist and VIce President of business development at IRIS

IRIS is the largest network of optometrists, opticians and ophthalmologists under the same banner in Canada, dedicated to improving the eye health standards of Canadians.

With 67,000 square feet of new and renovated space, the WEI will push the boundaries of eye and vision care, clinical education and research by harnessing technology and creating a tele-optometry program to benefit patients in the Waterloo region and across the country.

The tele-optometry centre will increase access to comprehensive eye care in remote, Indigenous and other underserved communities across Canada. It will improve access to after-hours care and specialty services such as low-vision rehabilitation. It will also provide clinical education and training for a new generation of optometrists committed to using technology to advance health equity.

“The WEI will be a national resource for our profession,” said Dr. Stanley Woo, director of the School of Optometry and Vision Science. “It will offer us a chance to train and collaborate with optometrists from around the world as well as help us reach underserved and marginalized communities that are often at greatest risk of eye conditions. We are grateful to have the support of partners like IRIS.”

For more information about the Waterloo Eye Institute, please contact:

Kelsey Gagnon
Associate Director, Advancement
School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of Waterloo
[email protected]