How do I know which surgery is best – Epi-LASIK, PRK, LASIK, or Intra-LASIK?

There are several choices that have to be made when considering laser vision correction. In Calgary, Alberta there are a variety of surgeries being offered at multiple centres.

From surface no-flap treatments such as PRK and Epi-LASIK, to flap treatments such as LASIK and Intra-LASIK, to intraocular treatments such as lens exchange or implantable contact lens.

It can be helpful to start by asking your existing optometrist or ophthalmologist if you might benefit from laser vision correction. There are a number of reasons why it might not be a good choice for you. For example, many people who are over the age of forty and do not wear distance glasses may believe that laser vision correction can be done to get rid of the need for reading glasses – it is not possible for laser vision correction to correct for reading glasses due to the natural age related weakening of the focus ability which occurs inside the eye. Another example would be extremely high nearsighted or farsighted people may not be good candidates for laser vision correction. Your current eye care provider who is familiar with your vision needs will most often be able to give you some preliminary information.

If you are over age 18, have a stable eyeglass prescription, and healthy eyes, you may be a good candidate for laser vision correction. It can help to learn about the types of treatments available by looking on-line at reputable websites such as www.geteyesmart.org which is a patient information site affiliated with the American Academy of Ophthalmology www.aao.org . You can also check out the websites of the local surgery centres such as Western Laser Eye Associates. More information can be found in Dr. Anderson Penno’s latest book “Laser Vision Correction: What You Need to Know”, available at www.amazon.com and coming soon to Kindle. If you are familiar with the types of laser vision correction surgeries available, the next step is to book an assessment.

The assessment for laser vision correction can take up to two hours. Each centre may have different requirements for the length of time you should leave your contact lenses out before your appointment. In some cases there may be a fee for an assessment. The assessment is an opportunity for you to learn more about specific laser vision surgeries that are offered at a particular surgery center. There may be differences in which treatments are offered (flap or no-flap treatments) and in the types of lasers available. For example, not all lasers are capable of performing true custom wavefront treatments. The Visx S4 IR is the only laser available in Canada at this time that can perform custom wavefront treatments with iris registration and cyclotorsion control which is an adjustment for natural rotations of the eye during treatment. In most centres you will be offered an educational video to watch. The assessment is your opportunity to learn more about your choices, so it can be helpful to bring a pen and paper to write down questions as you go through the assessment. Some people will choose to have more than one assessment in order to compare the services offered at each center.

Once you have had an assessment and are confirmed to be a good candidate for laser vision correction you will have to decide which treatment and which centre is best suited to your individual needs. Understanding the basics of laser vision correction will help you understand the risks and benefits, will allow you to have the right expectations about what laser vision surgery can do for you, and will help you make the best choice for you.

To book a complimentary assessment with Dr. Anderson Penno, contact Western Laser Eye Associates today.

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