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Home Alumni LINK Magazine LINK Stories A peek inside SAIT's new vision care sciences programs

A peek inside SAIT's new vision care sciences programs

Photos by Harder Lee Photography

Eye problems are increasing as people spend more time in front of screens, yet Alberta’s vision care industry anticipates many opticians will retire before 2025. So SAIT has launched two vision care sciences programs including a one-year Ophthalmic and Optometric Assisting Certificate that’s unique in Canada.

“There is much overlap between ophthalmology and optometry that we’ve combined the two professions into one program,” says Shay Gornshtein, Acting Academic Chair, Vision Care Sciences with the School of Health and Public Safety. “This approach provides well-rounded training in supporting eye care practitioners. Students develop specialized knowledge in ophthalmic and optometric clinical procedures, and gain real versatility in their career choice.”

Another one-of-a-kind factor: SAIT’s program includes both opticians and optometrists as instructors.

Tech on campus




SAIT invested $1 million in its vision care clinic, with full outfitted lab and classroom spaces recreating professional eye care offices. 


This highly accurate corneal typographer can perform four different computer-aided diagnostic imaging tests.


Each scan measures information from 9.600 data points and can capture still images and video at the same time. 


The average human hair is 75 microns; this instrument boasts a standard deviation of error of less than two microns.


Ophthalmic = eye health
Optometric = vision care


Before even touching this gold-standard equipment, students first gain virtual experience through 3D simulation developed by SAIT's own Centre for Applied Education Innovation. 

Vision care programming and lab space is supported by generous donors and partners including Nikon Optical Canada, HOYA Vision Care Canada, BC College of Optics, Clearly, Visual Eyes and Bailey Nelson.

A peek inside the classroom

Harder Lee Photography takes us inside the classroom to see the students putting their skills to practise. 

This piece was originally created for the print version of the Spring 2021 issue of LINK — Raw, risky and full of joy.

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