Monthly Archives: September 2008

LASIK for astigmatism

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A common form of astigmatism results when the cornea is elliptical or irregularly shaped rather than spherical.

In people with this condition, light that enters the eye is focused on more than one point at the back of the retina. That’s the reason people with astigmatism experience blurred vision. LASIK or Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis can be used to treat astigmatism since it provides a way to reshape the cornea.
LASIK procedures approved by the FDA for treatment of corneal astigmatism include traditional LASIK or wavefront-guided LASIK (also known as custom LASIK). Traditional LASIK basically involves making a small circular incision in the cornea to create a flap, and using a laser to reshape the underlying corneal tissue. Wavefront-guided LASIK uses a computerized device that shines light in the eye and creates a 3D model of the cornea based on the wavefront of light that bounces back. The computer takes this information uses it to guide the path of the laser during the cornea-reshaping process. Wavefront-guided LASIK is more likely to result in 20/20 vision or better than traditional LASIK. At Western Laser Eye Associates, Dr. Elizabeth Anderson Penno, a board certified ophthalmologist can tell you which procedure is right for you.

While you may not have perfect vision after LASIK astigmatism correction, many people who’ve had LASIK astigmatism correction find that they don’t need glasses anymore. Vision improvement can increase over time, but some report improvement as early as a day or two after a LASIK procedure.

Dr. Ellen Anderson Penno. serving Calgary, Alberta, combines ten years of LASIK and PRK experience, today’s most advanced technology and customized care to give you your best possible vision. Please contact our office to schedule your free consultation today.

Does age matter for LASIK or PRK?

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If you are considering LASIK or PRK in Calgary you won’t be considered a good candidate for laser vision correction unless you are at least 18 years old with a stable prescription for at least one year.

There may be rare cases where LASIK or PRK might be recommended for people younger than 18. There are also many people at that age that may not be good candidates due to increasing prescriptions. Some people with higher corrections may not stabilize until they are in their mid to late twenties. It is not uncommon for people with stable prescriptions to need a second treatment (enhancement) following LASIK or PRK, but repeated enhancements are not recommended due to the risk of corneal thinning which can result in corneal instability. For this reason it is wise to wait until your prescription stabilizes for at least one year whether you are 18 or 28 years old.

Once the prescription stabilizes, most people will experience only small changes in their contact lens or glasses correction until they reach their 40’s. Sometime between age 40 and 48 most people will experience a change in their focusing power. This change is called presbyopia and means that a bifocal or progressive correction or reading glasses over contact lenses will be needed for near vision including reading. LASIK or PRK may still be a good choice for people in this age range but reading glasses may be needed after treatment. If you are over the age of 40 you may want to ask your surgeon about monovision. Monovision means that one eye is corrected for distance vision and one eye is targeted for near vision.

For people over 50 years old LASIK and PRK can be an excellent choice for vision correction. In this decade cataracts may begin to form. Cataracts involve age related changes that result in clouding of the lenses inside the eyes. Early cataracts may cause a change in prescription. If your correction is changing and your surgeon has identified cataracts then LASIK and PRK may not be a good choice for you. If your prescription is stable and your surgeon does not see any cataracts or other age related changes then laser vision correction is an option to consider. If both eyes are targeted for distance then reading glasses will be needed for near vision unless a monovision correction is done.

For people who are in their late fifties or older most surgeons will begin to recommend an intraocular treatment called a refractive lensectomy for vision correction. Refractive lensectomy uses the same techniques to remove and replace the lens inside the eye with an intraocular lens implant. Cataracts become more common in this age range and if a refractive lensectomy is done then cataracts will not develop later since the lens inside the eye will have already been removed. If you are in this age group there are some exciting developments in implantable lens technology including the Tetraflex lens which may restore some ability to focus at near.

No matter how old or young you are, your prescription should be stable for at least one year before considering PRK or LASIK. If your prescription was stable and then begins to change it can be a sign of diabetes, cataracts, or other eye conditions and you should contact your ophthalmologist or optometrist for an eye health check.

For more information on eye conditions check out the American Academy of Ophthamology site or To book a free consultation contact Western Laser Eye Associates today.

Do you know who’s taking care of your eyes before and after LASIK?

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Many people don’t know the difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist. Most don’t understand the role that certified ophthalmic personnel play as part of your eye care team.

If you are considering LASIK or PRK in Calgary, come and meet the Western Laser Eye Associate team which includes:

An ophthalmologist or ophthalmic surgeon is an Eye M.D. – a medical doctor trained in eye care and eye surgery. Ophthalmologists can provide all types of care from diagnosis of eye disease to eye surgery. At Western Laser Eye Associates, Dr. Anderson Penno is a board certified ophthalmologist. Dr. Anderson Penno will see each LASIK and PRK candidate to determine the best procedure for each person. Dr. Anderson Penno will provide ongoing care including LASIK or PRK and follow up visits.

Certified Ophthalmic Personnel
The Joint Commission on Allied Heath Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO) certifies technical eye care personnel at four levels – certified ophthalmic assistant, certified ophthalmic technician, certified ophthalmic medical technologist, and corporate certified ophthalmic assistant. Certification requires that personnel complete training and testing. Certified ophthalmic personnel assist ophthalmologists and optometrists with vision testing, visual field testing, and a variety of other technical duties including corneal mapping and surgical assisting. Most offices will also have ophthalmic personnel who are gaining experience in advance of testing for certification.

A Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree and a license to practice optometry (not medicine) is required for optometrists. Optometrists prescribe glasses and contacts and diagnose and treat common eye diseases. Optometrists often work closely with ophthalmologists and may refer to ophthalmologists for eye surgeries including LASIK and PRK.

Opticians are trained to fill prescriptions for contacts and glasses. Opticians are not trained to diagnose or treat eye diseases or to write prescriptions. They can provide excellent advice regarding lens and frame choice.

More information about eye care professionals can be found at , , ,

If you are interested in booking a free laser vision correction evaluation please contact Western Laser Eye Associates today.