New era for eye care at Royal Alexandra Hospital

New era for eye care at Royal Alexandra Hospital

A comprehensive eye treatment centre that serves local residents, northern Albertans and Western Canadians will benefit from a $3-million campaign launched today by the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation.

The campaign will be designated across three priority areas:

  • $2 million will go towards renovations to the physical space at the Eye Institute of Alberta, greatly improving the patient experience for the 43,000 patients who visit there annually;
  • $500,000 will go towards the Ophthalmic Surgical Skills Centre, a state-of-the-art teaching facility at the Royal Alexandra Hospital;
  • A final $500,000 will go towards an Innovation, Education, and Research Fund to ensure the Eye Institute of Alberta will remain a leader of ophthalmology and vision science research.

“The next step in the Eye Institute of Alberta’s history is very exciting,” says Dr. Karim Damji, professor and chair, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Alberta. 

“The institute is poised to strengthen clinical care, education and research, and become a vibrant hub for the Edmonton Zone and for many areas in northern Alberta. This campaign to improve the patient experience, and support learning and research will advance innovation in eye care for the benefit of patients in our province and beyond.”

The renovation plan will add seats to waiting rooms, increase comfort for patients and family members, improve access for patients with mobility issues and add educational resources, artwork, and a play area for children.

“This will make the patient experience a more positive one,” says Haily Nguyen, Patient Care Manager for the Eye Institute of Alberta. “Providing the best possible care to our patients is top of mind for us.”

Campaign co-chair Cal Nichols has firsthand knowledge of the life-changing work that happens every day at the Eye Institute of Alberta.

“What I thought was just part of the aging process turned out to be something much more serious – a detached retina,” says the well-known Edmonton businessman, who was also diagnosed with an unrelated condition, Fuchs Corneal Dystrophy, a disease that only affects one percent of the population.

“I feel very fortunate – the quick efforts to save my vision were successful and, since then, I’ve received excellent follow-up care.”

The Eye Institute of Alberta (formerly known as the Regional Eye Centre) was opened at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in 1996 to consolidate all eye and vision services in the Edmonton area. Since that time, it has become a vital source of eye care for the Edmonton area and Western Canada. As the only hospital-based, comprehensive eye treatment centre in northern Alberta, the Eye Institute of Alberta treats patients from across the Prairie provinces and the northern territories. The Eye Institute of Alberta is a regional leader in the treatment and prevention of eye disease, and is recognized internationally for its work in ophthalmology research.

“For many years, the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation has been proud to support the excellent work being done at the Eye Institute of Alberta,” says Andrew Otway, President and CEO of the Foundation.

“We value our partnership with the University of Alberta’s Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, a relationship that has led to many benefits and improved outcomes for patients seeking eye care at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. When we reflect on how many lives are touched by the Eye Institute of Alberta – patients needing care for glaucoma, cataracts, retinal conditions, hereditary eye disease, and eye injuries – we know that this campaign will resonate with the community.”

Nichols agrees. “Edmonton is lucky to have one of Western Canada’s most respected hospital based ophthalmology programs at the Eye Institute of Alberta,” says Nichols. “Due to our aging population and the nature of eye diseases, there is close to 100 percent chance that you or someone you know will need treatment at the Eye Institute of Alberta.”

For more information on the campaign, please visit the Eye Institute of Alberta page.