Monthly Archives: August 2008

Laser eye surgery technology

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The newest advance in laser eye surgery technology is Wavefront technology.

It offers the patient better vision than traditional LASIK and also offers iris registration. Traditional lasers track the movements of your eye. In other words, if you move your eye left, right, up or down the laser will follow it.
The problem with older LASIK technology is that if you move your eye closer or farther from the laser, the technology wasn’t sophisticated enough to track this movement. Iris registration technology is advanced enough to match these movements in order to match the eye tracking points perfectly with the laser during the surgical procedure.

The new Wavefront technology can also track eye rotations. When the patient lies down, the eyes can slightly rotate clockwise or counter clockwise. It is now technologically possible to track that additional eye movement.

The use of Wavefront technology in laser eye surgeries has offered surgeons the ability to perform nearly perfect surgeries on their patients. This provides even better results and less room for error and complication.

It is important to consult with an experienced and skilled eye surgeon before undergoing any procedures. Discuss all of your options with your eye doctor to determine which procedure will best suit your individual needs. To schedule a free consultation with a skilled and caring eye surgeon, please contact Western Laser Eye Associates today.


Preventing eye injuries before and after laser vision correction

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The 2008 Eye Injury Snapshot shows that half of the 2.5 million eye injuries reported annually in the United States occurred in and around the home and yard.

For the past five years members of the American Academy of Ophthalmology have participated in this study which reports injuries occurring within a one week period.

The majority (76%) of injuries occurred in men, and over half of those suffering injuries were between the ages of 10 and 45. Common household tools including bungee cords and chemicals were reported to cause injuries. The majority of injuries took place in the yard, workshop, and garage.

Results from this study can be found at

The best option for reducing the number of eye injuries is prevention. In many cases common sense and safety glasses will prevent these types of injuries. For any work involving power tools, lawn mowers, weed trimmers, and household chemicals, safety glasses may prevent serious injury. The study highlights the need for safety glasses for common activities that do not involve power tools such as using a hammer and nail.

The risk for injury may be increased following LASIK due to the possibility of flap shift. Following LASIK, the eye should be considered to be more fragile as the flap can be shifted or damaged even years later. While there is no flap with PRK, safety glasses are still recommended for any activities including home repair where they would be ordinarily worn.

Whether or not you have had LASIK or PRK you should seek prompt treatment with your optometrist, ophthalmologist, or emergency physician following any eye injury. Serious vision loss occurred in 50,000 cases reported in the 2008 Eye Injury Snapshot study.

More information about Calgary LASIK and PRK can be found on this site or by contacting us to book a free consultation with Dr. Anderson Penno.

How do I decide between PRK and LASIK?

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For some people the choice is easy. There are certain conditions which may be present which mean you only qualify for PRK. For others who qualify for both LASIK and PRK the choice can be more challenging.

In order to make a good decision it is important to gather as much infomation you can about PRK and LASIK. You must understand the basics of these two methods of laser vision correction before you can begin to make a well informed choice.

With both procedures numbing drops are used to freeze the surface of the eye. For PRK the surface cells are removed and the laser energy is applied to the corneal surface. For LASIK a flap is created with a device called a microkeratome. The flap is lifted and the laser energy is applied to the corneal tissue underneath the flap. More detailed information about the two types of laser vision correction can be found on our webiste. Other websites which have reliable information include (American Academy of Ophthalmology) and .

You should watch the DVD or video provided at the pre-operative evaluation, read all information provided to you by your surgeon (including consent forms), and ask a lot of questions. There are many basic questions that can be answered by qualified staff, but if you are feeling unsure about your choice you should request to speak to your surgeon. It may help to make a list of all your questions to bring to the appointment or to guide you during a telephone conversation with staff.

There may be individual factors which make you a better candidate for LASIK or PRK. For example, extremely farsighted (hyperopic) people may have a better result with LASIK due to a tendency to heal back towards farsightedness following PRK. For nearsighted (myopic) people this is not an important factor with the newer PRK techniques. Another example is thin corneas. If a cornea is too thin for a given correction then PRK may be recommended since it is not as deep a treatment and does not weaken the cornea as much.

As a general rule the following would be true for people who qualify for both LASIK and PRK:

These results will be the same with PRK or LASIK

– the longterm results are equally good for most prescriptions
– if you are over 40 you are likely to need glasses for reading and other close work

– the night vision may take longer to improve (up to 12 months in some cases)

– most people feel their night vision is similar to pre-operative night vision

– glare or halo present with corrective lenses may be present permanently after surgery

– dry eye is a common side effect of laser vision correction, usually improving over months

– the overall sharpness of vision can improve up to a full year

– there is a chance a second treatment (enhancement) may be needed for best vision

– safety glasses for sports or activities such as using power tools is always recommended

These results may be different with PRK or LASIK

– LASIK is more complex and a deeper treatment and carries a slightly higher risk

– risks of LASIK include flap problems during an after surgery

– the LASIK flap can be shifted even years later with trauma to the cornea

– PRK is a simpler procedure with less risk for most people

– PRK does not create a flap so there is less risk with future injury

– PRK is not as deep a treatment so there is less risk of weakening the cornea (ectasia)

– for thin corneas or irregular corneas PRK may be preferred

– for high farsighted or high astigmatism corrections LASIK may reduce enhancements

– there is a very slight chance of haze or scarring with PRK

– the chance of haze or scarring with PRK is greatly reduced with newer lasers

– PRK takes longer to recover with 7-10 days before return to activities like driving

– with PRK the vision may be blurry for up to a month or more

– LASIK has less discomfort in the first few days compared to PRK

– LASIK has more rapid visual recovery with return to usual activities in 1 or 2 days

Overall if you qualify for both PRK and LASIK the bottom line is that you trade a higher risk with LASIK for more rapid recovery. With PRK you are choosing a lower risk with the understanding that the recovery of vision is more gradual and there may be more discomfort in the first few days following surgery.

There may be factors individual to your own eye health, your correction, your overall health or medications, or lifestyle requirements that may make you a better candidate for one procedure or the other. It is important to listen carefully to the recommendations of your surgeon. If you have any questions be sure to ask.

You can get more information by scheduling a free consultation with Dr. Anderson Penno at Western Laser Eye Associates.