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For Patients

When thinking about whether vision correction surgery is right for you, and which care provider will best meet your needs, it is important to have an abundance of information. That is why Gimbel Eye Centre invests the time with each new patient to assess individual vision problems and explain the options that are right for each person.

Gimbel Eye Centre offers a full range of options for vision correction surgery (refractive surgery), including laser, implantable collamer lens implants, and refractive lens exchange options. We also perform a variety of advanced treatments for cataracts, retinal disease, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and other eye conditions. Our skilled eye doctors will help you decide which option is the right one to correct your individual vision problems.

The following will give you an overview of eye and vision care at our practice, in addition to providing answers to frequently asked questions about services at Gimbel Eye Centre. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information, or to schedule a consultation.

Are You a Candidate for Refractive Eye Surgery?

Generally, to be a candidate for surgery, you must:

While these qualifications serve as a guideline, a complete assessment is the best way to determine whether vision correction surgery can be performed for you. One of our experienced eye doctors will be happy to meet with you for a complimentary assessment and help you choose the most ideal treatment for your needs.

Complimentary Assessment

When you’re ready to take the next step, your Patient Counsellor will first discuss a series of questions with you before booking an appointment for an assessment of your eyes and vision. This appointment has no cost, will help you decide whether vision correction surgery is right for you, and which option will give you the results you are looking for. Although we have performed over 200,000 surgeries, we’ll only recommend a procedure if we’re confident that you’ll get the results that will satisfy you. We’ll provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision. Please complete an Assessment Request Form online or call one of our counsellors (you’ll need to have your prescription ready).

During your assessment, you’ll meet with a doctor to ask questions and talk about any concerns you might have. This appointment will give your surgeon all the information he or she needs to customize the procedure to your vision correction treatment.

Our staff is always available to listen to and answer your questions and concerns. Please feel free to contact us at any time.

Guidelines for Healthy Eyes

Many of the things that affect the health of your body overall also affect the health of your eyes. Smoking contributes to the development of cataracts and retinal diseases, which can lead to blindness. Smokers are also less likely to benefit from treatment for retinal disease. Alcohol, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high blood cholesterol are also risk factors for developing some eye conditions (cataracts, macular degeneration, etc.). You should also avoid bright sunlight and wear sunglasses outdoors. Too much exposure to bright sunlight can damage the lens and retina of the eyes. Sunglasses should block out ultraviolet A and B radiation.

Here are some general guidelines for healthy eyes:

Also, if you wear contact lenses, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning. If contact lenses are used improperly, infections can occur and serious damage can be done to your eyes. And remember, always maintain your annual check-ups. Many eye conditions can be successfully treated and risks to vision can be reduced if caught in early stages!

Financing Your Surgery

We believe everyone should have access to quality eye care, which is why our office accepts a wide range of convenient payment methods for treatment. Options include:

In addition, we accept third-party financing through Medicard®, Canada’s Patient Financing Company. You may also want to check with your employer to see if you have a Flexible Spending Account that could be accessed for funding all or part of your vision correction surgery. Also, keep in mind that your refractive procedure may be tax deductible, depending on your filing status.

We have given careful thought to our fees. Our primary concern is to ensure our patients benefit from our high standards of care and service. As leaders in corrective eye surgery since 1964, we invite you to look closely at your options, ask questions, and check the reputation of our surgeons. We are confident you will agree that Gimbel Eye Centre is the right choice for your vision correction surgery.

Out-of-Town Patients

If you are visiting Gimbel Eye Centre from another part of Canada or the world, our office has established partnerships with local hotels and bed-and-breakfasts to offer discounts on accommodations. We welcome all out-of-town patients who have chosen us for their eye care needs.

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General Eye Surgery FAQs

Does surgery hurt?

Eye surgery typically does not hurt. Depending on the type of procedure, some patients may experience mild discomfort after surgery; this can be relieved with medication. Patients who have PRK generally report more discomfort than with other vision correction procedures. Our doctors will talk more with you about what you can expect for specific procedures, and how any post-operative discomfort can be managed, once they have met with you for your initial consultation.

What are the risks / side effects?

While there are risks associated with any surgery, the risks associated with vision correction surgery are extremely low. Some side effects can be felt by the patient during the healing process (for example, dry eyes, halo effect of lights at night, light sensitivity), but these effects almost always go away once the eyes have completely healed. Your doctor will fully explain the risks and side effects during your consultation and how they can be treated if they occur.

How long will the correction last?

The vast majority of patients who need low to moderate corrections have normal vision (near 20/20) after surgery. Refractive surgery does not prevent progressive myopia, and every effort is made to confirm that the vision is stable before performing a vision correction procedure. Also, as we age, we all will eventually need some form of vision correction (usually reading glasses or bifocals). People who have had vision correction surgery will also need similar kinds of corrections.

Can both eyes be done at the same time?

In most cases, laser and lens procedures allow both eyes to be done at the same time. The preferences of the patient, as well as the recommendations of the surgeon, are considered on a case-by-case basis.

What is monovision?

This is a condition where one eye (usually the dominant one) is corrected fully for distance vision and the other eye is corrected for a small amount of nearsightedness. This can provide reasonably good distance vision and near vision without the need for glasses. This can be especially useful for people who have reached the point where they would need reading glasses if both eyes are fully corrected for distance.

When can I drive?

Once your eyes have reached the Alberta legal driving measurement (20/50 with both eyes, or 20/30 with one eye) you will be able to drive. This usually happens within a day or two with most surgeries, and up to two weeks with PRK.

When can I return to work?

Most people can return to work within two to four days. If you have PRK (and have both eyes corrected at the same time) you should plan on being away from work for 7 – 10 days. If you choose PRK and can’t be away from work that long, you can choose to have one eye done at a time and likely continue working without interruption.

How long will I be on medication?

This depends on how long you take to heal, what procedure you have had, and the level of correction. Generally, the need for medication gradually lessens and is taken for one week up to several months.

Can I wear contacts afterwards?

Typically, if you were able to wear contacts before surgery, you will be able to wear them after surgery. But most people do not need to wear contacts following surgery.

Can I have surgery after the age of 50?

Generally, people over 50 will still need reading glasses after surgery. With patients over the age of 60 we generally recommend refractive lens exchange; however, this will be determined and discussed during your assessment.

Can I still have cataract surgery at Gimbel Eye Centre?

Yes – we still offer cataract surgery services.

Does Alberta Health still pay for my cataract surgery?

Yes, cataract surgery is still insured by Alberta Health, and Gimbel Eye Centre surgeons continue to provide insured services. With Alberta Health, patients will not pay for the cataract surgery itself.

If you have additional questions, or if you are ready to schedule your complimentary assessment, please contact Gimbel Eye Centre.