All posts by uppercut

Is PRK / Advanced Surface Ablation better than LASIK?

By | Customvue, Laser vision correction, LASIK, PRK, Refractive Surgery, Surgeon, VISX | No Comments

PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) was the first laser vision correction used to eliminate glasses and contact lenses. The first PRK was done in North America in the 1980’s and PRK has remained an excellent way to eliminate nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

PRK involves removing just the surface layer of cells on the surface of the cornea (the clear winshield-like structure on the front of the eye) and then reshaping the surface using the excimer laser.  A contact lens is placed on the surface for three to five days as the surface cells grow back to cover the cornea.  Most people are back to usual activities in 7 to 10 days.

LASIK (laser in situ keratomileusis) was developed in the 1990’s as a way to speed up the recovery from laser vision correction.  Also called “Flap &  Zap”, LASIK involves cutting a flap from the cornea, folding it back out of the way to reshape the surface underneath with the excimer laser, and then replacing the flap to it’s original position.  This allows people to be back to usual activities within a day or two but does carry higher risks;  the LASIK flap is more complicated to create, the flap can be shifted even months or weeks later, and the cornea is weakened more from the LASIK flap.

For over twenty-five years surgeons have preferred to use PRK for people with thin corneas or other factors that may make LASIK too risky.  With the newer excimer lasers a customized wavefront laser pattern can be used.  This custom wavefront treatment uses a map of the patients vision system to create an individualized laser treatment pattern – much like a fingerprint that is customized to each individual eye.  Some surgeons believe that a customized treatment is more effective with PRK because the LASIK flap will cover up the finely customized wavefront treatment.

Many surgeons around the world are choosing PRK as their preferred way to do laser vision correction due to the excellent results and safety.  Although the risks are low with LASIK, they are lower with PRK and most complications of PRK are easier to treat than a complicated LASIK flap.

For people who are looking for safe and effective laser vision correction the combination of PRK/Advanced Surface Ablation with customized wavefront laser treatment is an excellent choice.

If you have questions about laser vision correction or wish to book a complimentary evaluation with Dr. Anderson Penno, contact Western Laser Eye Associates.

Ebola, Influenza: what is your risk?

By | LASIK | No Comments

Ebola is one of the least likely diseases that you might catch in North America, but it has raised awareness of the risks of infectious diseases.

The top 10 causes of death in high income countries like Canada and the US according the the World Health Organization WHO:

1. Coronary Heart Disease

2. Stroke

3. Lung and Other Respiratory Cancers

4. Lower Respiratory Infections

5. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

6. Colon and Rectal Cancer

7. Alzheimer and Other Dementia

8. Diabetes

9.  Breast Cancer

10. Stomach Cancer

HIV/AIDS, perinatal (deaths in childbirth), accidents, and malaria make the top ten in lower income countries.

According to the Huffington Post there are 5 more scarier infections to worry about.  Rabies kills about 55,000 people in Africa every year and is one of the deadliest viruses.  Hiv/AIDS has killed over 36 million people and can be treated but not cured.  More than 600,000 people are killed worldwide by mosquito spread disease like malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, and West Nile – every year.  Rotavirus is a particular problem for children under the age of 5 in developing countries.

In the top 5 viral diseases scarier than Ebola is Influenza which kills between 3,000 and 49,000 in the US each year.  Worldwide between 250,000 and 500,000 people die each year from influenza.

Ebola has been around for decades but has more recently become epidemic in some areas of Western Africa.  There have been approximately 4,000 deaths so far from Ebola according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/ CDC.

You are more likely to become ill or die from the far more common influenza virus, but with any infectious disease there are common sense steps you can take to protect yourself:

1. Get vaccinated if a vaccine is available.  Influenza vaccines are available with the latest strains every year and there may be an Ebola vaccine available in the future.

2. Wash your hands & take other universal precautions

3. Stay home if you are sick and in particular if you have a fever.

4. Be aware of recommended precautions when you travel.

5. Don’t forget about common sense heart health including not smoking, exercise and watching your weight, and having proper screening for common diseases like colon cancer and breast cancer that are more likely to be treatable if found early.

Ebola is scary because it is new, but in developed countries sensible precautions are likely to prevent the devastating outbreaks that have been seen in African countries.  Everyone can do their part to slow down the transmission of all infections by common sense measures like hand washing, covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing, and staying home when you are sick or feverish.

Ebola is one of the least likely diseases that you may catch in North American but it is a good reminder to take common sense steps to avoid both the rare Ebola and the more common Influenza.

Blepharitis & PRK/LASIK

By | Laser Eye Surgery, Laser vision correction, LASIK, PRK, Refractive Surgery | One Comment

If you are thinking about having PRK or LASIK laser refractive surgery you should be familiar with the common conditions that can cause problems after surgery.  Most people who have PRK or LASIK are very satisfied.  For the small percentage of people who have problems following laser vision correction, dry eye is one of the most common complaint.

Dry eye can be a complicated problem, called “ocular surface disease” by eye care professionals.  Dry eye is not as simple as not enough tears.  A normal tear film is like oil and vinegar salad dressing – the oil, mucous, and water components need to be in the proper proportions and also mixed properly to form an emulsion.  An emulsion is what happens when you shake your oil and vinegar salad dressing.

Blepharitis is a condition that causes plugging of the oil glands that have openings just inside the upper and lower eye lashes.  Blepharitis can also cause redness and inflammation along the eye lashes and mattering of the lashes.  Without the proper oils the tear film does not wet the eye surface as well.  The mattering of the lids can also lead to a poor quality tear film which causes dry eye symptoms.

Blepharitis treatment is like treating dry skin or any other chronic condition.  Treatment of blepharitis means a change in habits – the treatments need to be done as part of your daily routine on an ongoing basis.  Daily warm compress with mild pressure on closed lids with a warm wet cloth for 3 to 5 minutes twice per day is the most important treatment.  The warmth will encourage the oils to flow, the mild pressure can soften and lift off matter, and the moist cloth will help lift off debris.  Other treatment are gently washing the lids with dilute baby shampoo 1:10 or with a lid care pad available at pharmacies.

The link between blepharitis and PRK or LASIK is that after surgery, without glasses or contact lenses, the eye is more exposed to wind and evaporation.  If you wear glasses you know that there moist air trapped between your eye and your glasses because when you go out in the cold the glasses fog up.  Even contact lenses can provide a barrier from evaporation.  Once the surface is exposed on a daily basis, people with blepharitis might find their eyes feel more dry than before PRK or LASIK.

Before you have laser vision correction your eye care provider will assess pre-existing conditions like blepharitis and give you advice about treatment of these conditions.

If you have questions about laser vision correction or wish to book a complimentary evaluation, contact Western Laser Eye Associates.

Eye-Whitening: do your homework

By | Epilasik, Laser vision correction, LASIK, PRK, Refractive Surgery | No Comments

American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery has rescinded a clinical alert about complications that may result from eye whitening treatments

Eye-whitening procedures involve removing the outer layers that cover the white sclera and using medications which slow healing in order to result in a whiter looking eye.  In some early reports using specific surgical eye whitening techniques there were reports of complications.  For any elective surgery involving the eyes or other areas of the body there will always be some risk even if the procedure is done perfectly.  This is due to difference in responses to surgery and differences in healing for each individual.  Some health conditions such as smoking, autoimmune diseases, or diabetes can also affect healing.  When considering any type of elective surgery you need to find out the specific techniques that are being used, expected rates of complications, and any factors in your specific case that might raise your risk for a specific treatment.  In general most of the elective surgeries that are now considered routine (such as laser vision correction) will carry a low risk of significant complications.  When looking for information about a specific treatment it can be helpful to look at respected websites such as the American Academy of Ophthalmology , or the National Eye Institute.   The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health has a data base with peer reviewed articles that can be searched for more in depth information called PubMed.

Red eyes are common and may be caused by anything that irritates the eyes, most commonly dry eye and allergies.  If the vision is not affected then most people can safely try over the counter artificial tears up to several times per day and warm compresses twice per day.  For many people regular use of lubrication drops can help to minimize red eye.  Over the counter allergy medications can also be used safely as directed for short periods of time. Red eye formulas are available over the counter but are not recommended for continuous every day use.

Whether you don’t need glasses at all, wear contacts or glasses, or have had laser vision correction such as PRK or LASIK, an occasional red eye that responds to artificial tears is most likely not serious.  Signs that you should see your eye doctor include a red eye with vision changes, significant pain or discomfort, or a large amount of discharge.  If you have any of these symptoms or a persistently red eye it is a good idea to consult your eye doctor.

If you have questions about laser vision correction or wish to book a complimentary evaluation with Dr. Anderson Penno, contact Western Laser Eye Associates.

Exercise & Eye Health

By | LASIK, Ophthalmologist, Ophthalmology, PRK, Refractive Surgery | No Comments

A long term study of thousands of adults shows that regular exercise lowers risk of vision loss over 20 years.  The Beaver Dam Eye Study started in 1987 and continued to follow approximately 5,000 adults over 20 years.  Vision loss was reported in 5.4% of the population overall.

People who were physically active had a 58% lower risk of vision loss according to this study.  Heart healthy practices like exercise, not smoking, healthy weight, and regular check-ups to monitor blood pressure have been shown to reduce the risk of eye diseases like macular degeneration and glaucoma.

Whether you are considering laser vision correction like LASIK or PRK or not, a heart healthy lifestyle including exercise can keep help to keep your vision safe.  Regular eye health checks with your optometrist or ophthalmologist are also very important to find and treat eye conditions.  For many eye problems early treatment is important in preventing serious vision loss and can often be found before you have symptoms.

If you have questions about laser vision correction or wish to book a complimentary evaluation with Dr. Anderson Penno, contact Western Laser Eye Associates.

Stay Away From Scary Colored Contacts This Halloween

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Buying contact lenses without a prescription is asking for problems like scratched corneas, infections, and possible permanent vision loss.  Even if you only plan to wear contacts for a few hours you may be risking your eyesight.

Halloween may seem like the perfect time to try out colored contacts, but if you are not working with a qualified eye doctor you risk serious injury to your eyes.  These dangers are the subject of this recent article on the AmericanAcademy of Ophthalmology site

Contact lenses colored or not need to have the proper curvature as well as the proper lens prescription.  In order to fit contacts properly a qualified eye doctor will observe the fit and movement of the contacts on your eye in order to be sure there is a good tear movement under the contacts.

If the contact lenses are not fitted to your individual eye shape the contact can suction onto the eye, limit the flow of oxygen to the cornea, or scratch the corneal surface.  The result is a painful eye, blurry vision, and sometimes permanent vision loss if prompt care does not correct the problem.

If you have questions about laser vision correction or wish to book a complimentary evaluation with Dr. Anderson Penno, contact Western Laser Eye Associates.


Ophthalmologist & Optometrist: what does it mean when you are considering PRK or Epi-LASIK?

By | Epilasik, Laser vision correction, LASIK, Optometry, PRK, Refractive Surgery | One Comment

Whether you are looking for general eye health care, eyeglass prescriptions, or laser vision correction such as LASIK, PRK, or Epi-LASIK, it is important to understand who is caring for your eyes.

“Eye Doctor” can mean an ophthalmologist or an optometrist.  The main differences are:


  • has an M.D.
  • has completed 4 years of medical school + 4-5 years of residency
  • some will have completed additional 1-3 years of fellowship training
  • may provide general eye care, surgery, or specialized care
  • sub-subspecialities include: glaucoma, retina, cornea, plastics
  • in addition to surgery, can prescribe a wide range of medications
  • can order specialized testing such as CT, MRI, X-ray, blood work
  • find an Eye MD


  • has an O.D.
  • has completed 4 years of optometry training  in addition to university
  • may provide general eye care as well as prescribing glasses and contacts
  • often will comanage with ophthalmologists
  • can prescribe glasses and contacts and some medications
  • can refer to sub-speciality ophthalmologists such as retina or glaucoma
  • find an optometrist

In many laser vision correction centres the initial assessment is done by an opometrist with experience in refractive surgery.  At Western Laser Eye Associates all potential laser vision correction candidates are seen by an ophthalmologist in order to insure they are a good candidate for surgery.

In some cases it can be helpful to comanage with both an optometrist and ophthalmologist.  For example some people from smaller towns may not have convenient access to an ophthalmologist.  In these cases an optometrist can do preliminary testing to determine if laser vision correction may be an option.  It it is not a good option due to the degree of correction or other eye health issues then it may save the time and travel to attend an assessment.  In cases where laser vision correction is a good option, you may return to your optometrist closer to home for follow up care.

Co-management between an ophthalmologist and optometrist works well for a number of common eye conditions.  The key to successful comanagement is good communication between you, your ophthalmologist, and your optometrist.

If you are interested in booking a complimentary laser vision correction assessment with Dr. Anderson Penno, contact Western Laser Eye Associates.


Welcome Dr. M. Purba: experienced in pre & post LASIK, PRK care and general eye health checks

By | Customvue, Epi-lasik, LASIK, Optometry, PRK, Refractive Surgery | No Comments

Western Laser Eye Associates is pleased to welcome Dr. M. Purba to our eye-care team alongside Dr. Anderson Penno, Dr. Boadi and experienced ophthalmic technicians.

Dr. M. Purba brings years of optometry experience in the field of pre & post PRK and LASIK care as well as extensive experience in optometric eye health care to the practice.  She will be available to do general eye exams, prescribe glasses, and provide specialized treatment for conditions such as dry eye, blepharitis, and glaucoma.

Optometrists specialize in the treatment of many eye problems.  They are complimentary to ophthalmologists who are Eye MD’s and often work together with ophthalmologists to co-manage patients.

More information can be found at:

For more information about services provided by Dr. Purba or to book a complimentary refractive surgery assessment with Dr. Anderson Penno, contact Western Laser Eye Associates.


Calgary Flood

By | Charity, Laser vision correction | No Comments

We were fortunate to be just outside the mandatory evacuation zone during last week’s flood at our new location at 6427 Bowness Road NW in Bowness, in Calgary.

Many in the city were not so lucky as the river spilled out onto streets and into houses and businesses last Friday:  Aerial View of Flooding.

While the waters are returning to more usual levels there is substantial work to be done.  Volunteer opportunities are posted on:  YYC Helps

Over $1,000 Raised For Right To Play!

By | Charity, Epi-lasik, PRK, Refractive Surgery | No Comments

I am very excited to have raised over a thousand dollars for this great charity, Right to Play, by participating in the Guinness World Record soccer game attempt from October 5 though 7.

Every dollar raised is matched three times by Right to Play partners with the overall goal of raising 25 thousand (which will result in 100 thousand dollar to support every child’s right to play.

To donate follow this link to my personal page on the Right to Play website:

Many people who are interested in considering PRK, LASIK, Epi-LASIK or other types of refractive surgery are motivated by the desire to participate in sports without the hassle of contacts or glasses.  Many children around the world do not have the resources or opportunity to participate in sports at all so it is a privilege to be able to donate to a charity that gives them the chance to benefit from involvement in athletics and team activities.

Please help me support the Cochrane Rangers Soccer Club ( ) and the Right to PlayFoundation in setting a new Guiness World Record on October 5 to 7, 2012.

For information about booking a complimentary laser vision correction assessment with Dr. Anderson Penno contact Western Laser Eye Associates.