Ophthalmology Research

Ocular Genetics

The Department has a tradition of research excellence in ocular genetics, with the laboratories researching complementary aspects of inherited eye disease. Details of these major research themes and biographical information are available:

Alberta Vision Net

Alberta Vision Net consists of researchers from the University of Alberta and University of Calgary who are working together to improve the understanding and treatment of ocular disease.

AVN Update 2020 

Virtual Retina

Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness in developed countries and so it is very important that future ophthalmologists understand it well. The University of Alberta Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences has developed a virtual environment, Virtual Retina: Diagnosing Diabetic Retinopathy, to augment the education residents receive about diabetic retinopathy.

Using cutting edge technology and specially developed software, Virtual Retina allows residents to digitally stereoview patients in a case-based format and encourages the development of a diagnostic framework. Also, the cases have an interactive pathology-identification component, and incorporate self-testing and virtual surgical treatment. Virtual Retina is supported by detailed theoretical papers and interactive illustrated tutorials. Learners acquire a thorough understanding that would otherwise take an extended period of time to achieve through traditional clinical observation.


This program facilitates timely detection of treatable diabetic retinopathy in the Aboriginal population, through a high-resolution, stereoscopic digital imaging (tele-ophthalmology) system. It avoids the need for 90% of Aboriginal diabetics to travel from remote communities for annual examination, and has been expanded to cover all Aboriginal and Métis communities in Alberta. A similar service is provided to the Northwest Territories.