Dr. Heather Cowie

BSc, OD, MPH candidate

Welcome to Airdrie Family Eye Doctors! I am so thrilled to be back working in Airdrie. It is a real joy for me to build relationships with my patients, of all ages and I feel privileged to be entrusted with their vision care.

My passion for eye care began while volunteering in Central America. Improving sight for people who do not have access to eye care has been the most rewarding experience of my life. While in Optometry school I was the founder and President of VOSH (Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity), an organization that connects Optometry students with international eye care missions. I have had the opportunity to participate and lead eye care teams to a variety of countries over the past 10 years. I have volunteered in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Jamaica and Mexico. I am now pursuing my Master's degree at Johns Hopkins in the study of Public Health, specializing in International Health Care. This degree will better able me to establish sustainable eye care solutions in the developing world. My hope is to continue bridging the gap of eye care services to those in need through our buy one, give one program at Airdrie Family Eye Doctors. With each full pair of glasses that are purchased at our clinic, we will be donating one pair of new glasses to someone in need.

In addition to International eye care, I have a special interest in pediatric vision care. I am a new Mom to a baby girl and I could not be more dedicated to caring for our little ones' eyes. It is imperative that all kids get thorough eye exams starting at a very early age and throughout their childhood, to ensure they have great vision development as they grow. I also have a keen interest in laser surgery options as I was fortunate to work at the world renowned Gimbel Eye Centre in Calgary.

I grew up in Red Deer, Alberta and completed by Bachelor of Science at the University of Calgary. I received my Doctor of Optometry degree from the University of Waterloo and spent an ocular disease rotation at a Veteran's Hospital in Oklahoma. I was elected Class President and received the Canadian Optometry Association leadership award. I sit on the executive of the Calgary Society of Optometrists and I am very humbled to have been awarded the 2013 Service Award from the Alberta Association of Optometry.

You will often see me working with student interns. I have the privilege of having both Medical Students and Optometry Students work with me at the clinic as well as providing mentoring opportunities for younger students interested in health care. I am always open to having students who may be interested in pursing a career in Optometry to come shadow me at Airdrie Family Eye Doctors.

I am passionate about providing exceptional eye care in a comfortable and personalized setting and invite you to come experience our clinic and see what we can offer you and your family.

Dr. Brent Hopfauf


Thank you for visiting our clinic's site! I am very excited to be working in the beautiful city of Airdrie.

I was born and raised in Calgary and I am a very proud Albertan. I completed my Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Calgary with distinction and then headed to Ontario after being accepted into the Optometry Program in Waterloo. I was proudly named Class Valedictorian upon graduation. Even though my time away from Alberta was fun and very eye opening I was drawn back by our beautiful mountains and clean fresh air.

During my final year of study I had the unique opportunity to do extensive ocular disease training in Houston including glaucoma, cataracts, dry eyes, and uveitis. My experience in diagnosing and managing eye conditions, under the supervision of some amazing specialists, guided me and gave me the drive to continue researching the latest advances in eye care. This has allowed me to provide my patients with some of the most up to date treatment options and is one of the most rewarding parts of my job.

My approach to eye care is to treat every patient as though they are family. I am committed to providing exceptional care for all of my patients and always putting their best interests first. I strongly believe that a well-educated patient is ultimately a healthier patient and I love to teach my patients about the conditions they have been diagnosed with. My goal is to care for my patient's eyes for life, and this includes treating current issues but also preventing future eye concerns. I strongly believe in the value of routine eye exams and this means caring for all age ranges including children staring as young as 6 months to seniors of 100 years. I am also enthusiastic about working with community members who may have difficulties accessing eye care. I have volunteered to serve the homeless and am the founder, along with Dr. Heather Cowie, of a mobile clinic (OnSight Eye Doctors), which serves seniors in extended care facilities, giving access to care to those who are restricted either by reduced physical or cognitive capabilities.

In my spare time, like most Canadians, I enjoy watching and playing hockey. However, you can probably catch me playing any sport.

Dr. Cristy Franco


Welcome to Airdrie Family Eye Doctors! I am so thrilled to be back in Alberta and part of this amazing team.

Born and raised in Calgary, I completed my Bachelor of Science in Zoology at the University of Calgary. After taking some time off to work and travel I moved to Waterloo, Ontario to fulfill my dream of becoming an Optometrist, graduating with Honours.

During my years as an optometry student I was privileged to be a part of three volunteer eye care trips around the world, travelling to Romania, Mexico, and Moldova to provide eye care to those who are unable to access or afford it. I was also involved in several local volunteer eye care projects including eye exams for men and women participating in the Special Olympics. I am very passionate about bringing eye care to those in need and will continue to participate in initiatives such as these throughout my career.

In my final year of study I had the opportunity to train with an incredible team of ocular disease optometrists and specialists in Florida. This remarkable experience sparked my passion for diagnosing and managing ocular emergencies and diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, dry eye, and cataracts. I strive to provide the best, most up-to-date treatment for all my patients.

In addition to international eye care and ocular disease I have an interest in specialty contact lenses and pediatrics.

My passion is enhancing people's quality of life through eye care. It is important to me to provide personalized eye care focussed on prevention and education so you can leave our clinic feeling comfortable and confident.

Dr. Chelsea Gerlitz


Dr. Chelsea Gerlitz was born and raised in Calgary. She attended the University of Alberta where she obtained a B.Sc. before studying optometry at the University of Waterloo. In her final year of study, Dr. Gerlitz spent time interning with ophthalmologists in Florida as part of her Ocular Disease and Therapeutics rotation, as well as optometrists in Calgary, Olds, and Waterloo. In 2013, she graduated with honours and also received a CooperVision award for excellence in contact lens care. Dr. Gerlitz has a passion for travelling, and has completed a volunteer eye care mission in Belize with VOSH International. She also volunteers at CUPS (Calgary Urban Project Society), which is a non profit organization with a series of programs and services dedicated to providing primary health care for adults and families living in poverty.