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American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery has rescinded a clinical alert about complications that may result from eye whitening treatments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

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 (Cochranerangers.com ) 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.

Mission Eye Clinic: San Lucas Toliman

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

San Lucas, Toliman is nestled between three vocanic peaks next to Lake Attitlan Guatemala.  I had the privilege to join a team from Minnesota for a week in November.

One of the most important things I learned is to appreciate the infrastructure in place in developed places like the U.S. and Canada.  All of the things that you might not think about as you go about your work day or as I go about my regular clinic days in Calgary are in short supply in this area of Central America.  The basics of clean air, clean water, transportation, animal control, working plumbing, safe roads, and for medical providers proper equipment and regular clinic staffing are in short supply.  Many people can not afford to buy medications even if they can be prescribed properly and for more complex problems or emergencies they can not afford transportation to a suitable medical facility that might be located an hour or more away.  One initiative of the San Lucas Mission is to provide an ambulance which will transport these patients in need to facilities that can provide proper care in emergency situations.

I supported the surgical team by doing pre and post-operative exams, ultrasound measurements, and YAG laser treatments.  The teams from Minnesota have been able to transport equipment to the San Lucas Clinic that allow for cataract surgery and eye examinations.  The mission clinic also does dental work and has outreach workers that visit the outlying areas to provide care for common problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

The pictures on the San Lucas Mission website show the beauty of the Lake Attitlan area and the unique local dress.  http://www.sanlucasmission.org/ In spite of the dismal living conditions the people of San Lucas were smiling and welcoming.  It is a place of contrasts with the local women carrying large parcels on their heads, dressed in their hand-woven skirts, talking on cell phones.  San Lucas at the intersection of ancient Maya and the modern world.

For more information about laser vision correction options contact Western Laser Eye Associates.


San Lucas Mission Guatemala

By | Charity | No Comments

Dr. Anderson Penno is please to be joining an ophthalmology group that will be providing eye care to the people of San Lucas, Guatemala.

The clinic at the San Lucas Mission has a long history in the community and is one of many projects supported by the San Lucas Mission to support the local community.  More information about the mission can be found at


General eye care and community service has been an important part of Dr. Anderson Penno’s practice over the years.  The opportunity to use specialized ophthalmology skills to provide care to underserved Guatemalan people is a privilege.  The San Lucas mission has the infrastructure to provide ongoing care, and there are regular visits from ophthalmology teams from Minnesota and other locations.  There are a number of ways to volunteer.  The following link provides more information about volunteering: http://www.sanlucasmission.org/pages/volunteer/learn-about-volunteering 

For more information or to book a complimentary assessment for laser vision correction contact Western Laser Eye Associates.

US Trends In Refractive Surgery

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

ASCRS San Diego CA 2011  Dr. Richard Duffey and Dr. David Leaming reported on recent trends in refractive surgery in the US.

They are well known among refractive surgeons for their updates on trends in laser vision correction surgeries. A copy of their presentation can be found here.

They surveyed surgeons who are members of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ASCRS).  Their results show an increase in surgeon preference for PRK in nearsighted (myopic) patients over the last several years with a sharp increase in surgeon preference for PRK in 2010.  Recommendations for LASIK declined slightly in 2010.

The VISX laser continues to be the preferred excimer laser and continues to gain in popularity among laser vision correction surgeons.  The use of wavefront technology has also continued to increase over the past 5 years.  An impressive 24% of refractive surgeons have had PRK or LASIK themselves, 34% of surgeon spouses have had refractive surgery, and 52% of surgeons have a sibling who has had PRK or LASIK.  Overall there was a 27% increase in laser vision correction surgeries between 2009 and 2010.  Dr. Duffey and Dr. Leaming report that since 1996 ASCRS members have performed over 13 million laser vision correction surgeries.

To learn more about laser vision correction or to book a complimentary assessment, contact Western Laser Eye Associates.