John A. van Westenbrugge, MD, FRCSC
For almost 30 years, Dr. John van Westenbrugge has been a key player in the growth and increasing stature of Gimbel Eye Centre. Patients and colleagues alike respect him for his thorough, intelligent approach to medical and surgical care and for his reassuring and gentle manner.
He also appreciates the opportunities he has found at Gimbel Eye Centre. “When I perform cataract surgery, my patients are able to regain vision which has been lost,” he says, “but refractive surgery brings other rewards. When I perform refractive surgery, I am often able to give patients something they have never had before. Watching them regain and enjoy clear vision provides great professional and personal satisfaction for me.”
Dr. van Westenbrugge is known for his soothing voice during surgery which aids in relaxing his patients.
Dr. van Westenbrugge is an Albertan of Dutch descent. He grew up in Lethbridge and started his studies at the University of Lethbridge. He then completed his medical degree and ophthalmology residency at the University of Alberta. Dr. van Westenbrugge says “I chose to specialize in ophthalmology because I enjoyed working through a microscope. The fine detail of microsurgery intrigued me.” He extended his formal training by completing a medical retina fellowship at Pacific Presbyterian Hospital in San Francisco.
At Gimbel Eye Centre, Dr. van Westenbrugge has distinguished himself as a cataract and refractive surgeon. In 1990, he became the first surgeon in Canada to perform excimer laser PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) to correct nearsightedness.
In addition to his expertise with the excimer laser, Dr. van Westenbrugge is also experienced with the Nd:YAG, Argon/Krypton, Diode, and Picosecond lasers. One of the most experienced laser surgeons in Canada, Dr. van Westenbrugge is in demand internationally to teach laser techniques to colleagues. Closer to home, Dr. van Westenbrugge appreciates the opportunities he has to educate patients so they can understand and participate in making informed decisions about their treatment options.
Aviation has been a strong interest of the doctor since childhood. While attending medical school, he also learned to fly. Although the time commitments of career and family have grounded him for now, he maintains an enthusiastic interest in flight and plans future aerial experiences. In addition, Dr. van Westenbrugge likes writing, photography, and using Macintosh computers.
In recent years, Dr. van Westenbrugge has found his greatest joys in his family — his wife Kathy and four children. Spending time with his children and watching them grow and develop is a source of happiness and personal satisfaction.