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Eye Health

Conventional LASIK vs. iLASIK

Posted on by Maria Afonso in Bense, Bense Vision, Eye Health, Eyes, iLASIK, Newfoundland, Technology, Vision

Dr. Bense

Conventional LASIK vs. iLASIK

Vision correction has come so far from the first eye glasses introduced in the 13th century, we have evolved from specs to surgeries. The first Laser Vision correction surgeries started with PRK in early 1990’s, followed by the LASIK procedure late 1990’s and then iLASIK in the early-mid 2000’s. If you are interested in LASIK eye surgery and have come this far, you’ve likely been doing some research on Blade vs. Bladeless. What do these terms really mean? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Is it worth it? We want to clear the air and answer some of these common concerns.


Let’s start by telling you what happens during the LASIK procedure, this will help you understand the difference! During LASIK, the cornea (the outermost layer of the eye) is reshaped to correct vision including nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. In order to get to the corneal tissue that needs to be reshaped, the LASIK surgeon must create a thin corneal flap. The flap is the very exterior layer, often described as thin as “saran wrap” or “skin on an onion”. The flap is then lifted for application of laser energy that reshapes the eye for vision correction. The flap stays connected to the eye, when the LASIK procedure is complete and the cornea has been reshaped, the surgeon “closes” the flap, which naturally starts to ahere right away.

What is Conventional or traditional LASIK?

In a conventional LASIK procedure, the surgeon will use a bladed instrument known as a microkeratome to cut a thin flap into the cornea. The hand-held blade comes in direct contact with the cornea in this type of procedure. The flap (door into the cornea) created by a microkeratome is not always precise and may be thinner toward the middle of the flap because of how the blade works. This has the potential to cause certain types of flap defects including buttonholes (where the flap is shaped like a button) and flaps that become detached from the eye or incomplete.

What does “Blade-Free” LASIK means?

In a 100% blade-free LASIK procedure (AKA bladeless or all-laser LASIK procedure), the surgeon will use the advanced technology of a laser to create the flap (door to the cornea). At Bense Vision, our iLASIK procedure exclusively uses the advanced IntraLase iFS™ femtosecond laser – the most advanced Laser Vision Correction used worldwide. This laser uses high-energy laser pulses to separate the corneal tissue. Using this advanced laser technology to create the corneal flap means a more consistent thickness throughout the flap and reduces the number of complications that can result from using the bladed microkertome instrument.

What are the advantages of blade-free flaps

It is a fact that iLASIK technology is 25 times more accurate that conventional LASIK. It is so custom, so precise, and so accurate that we are able to treat many more patients, those that would not have been candidates for “conventional” LASIK are more likely to be good candidates for iLASIK today. As well, using a laser to create the corneal flap during LASIK will lead to fewer flap complications, that we used to see when doing cornea bladed LASIK. This can translate to additional benefits in terms of long-term quality of vision following this iLASIK procedure. Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of using a laser to create the corneal flap in a LASIK procedure. Some of the advantages compared with conventional LASIK include:

  • Less flap complications
  • Increased accuracy creating the corneal flap
  • Unprecedented control and precision during the procedure
  • Less patient anxiety without the “blade”
  • Reduced occurrence of halos and glare associated with blade
  • Better long-term vision quality
  • Treat more patients
  • Dry eyes more associated with blade

Is Blade-Free really worth It?

There are many advantages to blade-free LASIK, and there are certainly associated costs with this type of procedure. However, at Bense Vision we believe so strongly that the blade free iLASIK procedure, is the standard of care for today – we do not pass on that cost difference to our patients. It is our opinion that patients who receive the bladed LASIK for the same cost as Bense Vision’s iLASIK are simply overpaying. Did you know? The blade-free iLASIK procedure is the only approved laser vision correction procedure for use by NASA and US Military branches! Now that you understand the advantages compared with conventional LASIK, it’s up to you to determine if the benefits are important to you! When it comes to your vision, you decide what you want and deserve!

Don’t underestimate Surgeon Experience!

While blade-free iLASIK offers many benefits compared with conventional LASIK, the most important aspect is that the patient is in the hands of an expert surgeon. We are talking about tools, and tools are only as good as the surgeon who is using them. For example, a novice surgeon does not have the experience and skill as a seasoned surgeon who has been performing LASIK for many years. While both of these surgeons may use the same femtosecond laser, the seasoned surgeon would be more skilled at using the laser to provide patients with optimal vision outcomes. So don’t let the appeal of blade-free LASIK technology blind you to other important LASIK considerations, such as surgeon experience. We believe in the best, that is why we practice exclusively blade free for our LASIK patients – we are the only iLASIK certified provider in the province.

Experience Blade-Free LASIK from the Best!

At Bense vision you will receive 100% blade-free iLASIK technology in the hands of an experienced and skilled iLASIK surgeon who has performed almost 30,000 laser vision correction surgeries! Because we remain committed to using leading-edge technology and being Newfoundland’s most experienced and qualified iLASIK surgeon, we have helped 95% of our iLASIK patients see 20/20 or better following their procedure, with the majority seeing even better than that….20/15! At Bense Vision we are a “true centre of excellence” for LASIK eye surgery in the province.

To find out if you are a candidate, schedule a free evaluation with our doctors by calling 709.722.2020 or request an appointment via our contact page .

How to Delay the Progression of Cataracts

Posted on by Maria Afonso in Bense Vision, Cataracts, Eye Health, Eyes, Vision

Did you know that more than 2.5 million Canadians have cataracts? With a number like that, chances are you probably know someone who either has, or has had cataracts. Since June is Cataract Awareness Month, we’re here to shed some light on this prevalent eye disease. It’s important to know that symptoms of cataracts are progressive and can worsen over time. If not treated, cataracts can eventually lead to blindness. In fact, cataracts are responsible for 48% of world blindness. The good news is, cataract treatment is not only quick and painless, it also has an extremely high success rate!

older woman holding basket of fruits and vegetables

What are Cataracts?

Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s lens. Over time and with age, the proteins in the lens begin to build up and clump. The buildup of protein in the lens prevents light from passing through, making it harder to see. The severity of cataracts can range from barely affected vision to unable to see. Unfortunately, there is no proven way to avoid cataracts, and most people will eventually have a cataract in one or both eyes. If treatment is delayed, not only will symptoms worsen, but the actual size of the cataract can also grow. Cataract surgery is an effective treatment for restoring vision, and consists of replacing the cloudy lens with a new clear intraocular (IOL) lens.

Cataract Symptoms:

  • Blurry/hazy/cloudy vision
  • The need for frequent new prescriptions
  • Changes in the way you see colours
  • Poor night vision
  • An increased sensitivity to glare and light
  • Double vision in one eye


Cataracts can be detected during a comprehensive eye examination. However, it’s important to note that these symptoms may be a sign of another eye problem. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we advise you to see an optometrist.

Cataract Increased Risk Factors:

  • Smoking
  • The use of certain medications
  • Age
  • Diabetes
  • Eye injury
  • A family history of cataracts
  • Excessive exposure to sunlight and radiation


Choosing a healthy lifestyle, such as quitting smoking, can decrease your risk factors for cataracts. Some other tips to reduce the risk of developing cataracts include:

  • Reducing your exposure to sunlight: Wearing UVA/UVB protective eyewear is important because UV radiation can speed up the formation of cataracts.
  • Following your treatment plans: Keep other diseases you may have, such as diabetes, under control
  • Eating a healthy diet: Vitamins C and E may protect against the development and progression of cataracts as well as nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin, which can be found in leafy greens such as spinach and kale. In addition, the antioxidants found in these green veggies help to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.
  • Having regular eye exams: Since there is no pain or redness associated with cataracts, you may not even know you have a cataract until you have your eyes checked. It is best if cataracts are caught in the earlier stages. When it comes to cataracts and other eye problems, it’s better to be proactive than reactive.
  • Reduce alcohol intake: Excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of cataracts.


Cataract Treatment at Bense Vision

Bense Vision is the best choice for vision correction in Atlantic Canada. If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of cataracts, or if you would like more information on any of our procedures, don’t hesitate to contact us. During your one-on-on consultation with Dr. Bense, he will be able to recommend the treatment that will give you the best visual results. With over 20 years of experience, Dr. Bense maintains a strong commitment to providing his patients with the utmost care. We look forward to hearing from you!



How to Protect Your Eyes from the Sun

Posted on by Maria Afonso in Eye Health, Eye Protection, Vision

When most people think about sun protection, they’re usually concerned with protecting their skin. But did you know your eyes could sunburn too? Since May is UV Safety Month in Canada, we’re here to shed some light on why it’s important to protect your eyes from the sun – all year round!

couple biking

The Sun and Your Eyes

Protecting your eyes from the sun is important because harmful UV rays increase the risk of eye diseases such as cataracts, eye growths and even cancer. Did you know? If your eyes are lighter in colour, your risk for developing certain eye diseases and skin cancer is higher because lighter eyes contain less melanin. Melanin is a protective pigment in the eyes that help protect them from the sun.

The sooner you start protecting your eyes from the sun, the better. This is not only because everyone is at risk of sun damage to the eyes, but also because damage can build up and worsen over time, making daily protection the key to preventing long term problems. However, it is also possible to experience short-term effects of overexposure to the sun. Have you ever spent a long day at the beach after which your eyes feel tired, sore and gritty? Your eyes may be feeling the effects of too much sun exposure. The strength of UV rays can vary depending on the time of day. Morning and mid-day is when UV exposure for the eyes is the highest. This is a different time than what it would be for your skin.

The sun may be stronger in the summer months, but it’s just as important to protect your eyes from the sun even in the winter months. Snow blindness can be damaging to your eyes too. When sunlight reflects off the snow, it can be very bright and painful for the eyes. Even on the cloudiest days, there are still UV rays.

Eye Diseases Caused by Sun Exposure

Overexposure to the sun can increase your risk of:

  • Eyelid Cancer
    • The eyelids are highly susceptible to skin cancer.
  • Cataracts
    • At least 10% of cataract cases are directly related to UV exposure.
  • Macular Degeneration
    • Prolonged sun exposure damages retinal tissue.
  • Keratitis (corneal sunburn)
    • This is when the cornea of the eye becomes inflamed. It has been linked to exposure to UVB rays.

An ophthalmologist can identify all these problems during a routine eye exam.

In moderation, the sun can actually be good for our eyes. In fact, spending time outdoors has been linked to reducing the risk of nearsightedness in children.

How to Protect Your Eyes from the Sun

While everyone should be concerned with protecting their eyes from the sun, it’s especially important for babies, children and those that spend long hours outdoors. You want to look for sunglasses that have a minimum UV 400 protection that block both UVA and UVB rays. In addition, larger frames will help to block sunlight from entering from the sides and protect your eyes from dust and debris in the air. Don’t forget to wear them year round! For added protection, wear a wide-brimmed hat when you’re outside.

There are also UV blocking contact lenses on the market, however most do not provide any real protection. Regular contact lenses allow 90% of UVA radiation and 70% UVB radiation to pass through the lenses and into your eyes. Even if your contact lenses do provide UV protection, it’s important to wear sunglasses. Sunglasses will help to keep your lenses from drying out which can be uncomfortable. If you wear glasses all the time then you may want to consider investing in prescription sunglasses.

Follow these tips to keep your eyes and the sensitive skin around them healthy for a lifetime!

How We Can Help?

For more information on how you can protect your eyes from the sun, don’t hesitate to contact us. Located in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Bense Vision is your best choice for vision correction in Atlantic Canada. Are you tired of relying on glasses or contact lenses? If so, it may be time you considered LASIK. With plans starting as low as $83/month, there’s never been a better time to take the next step. Book your free LASIK consultation! We look forward to meeting with you!



Eye Alert! Seasonal Spring Allergies

Posted on by Maria Afonso in Eye Health

As we say so long to the cold winter days here in Newfoundland and warmly welcome spring, we’re not so welcoming to the seasonal allergies that breed at this time of year. Pollen gets dispensed into the air, which can unfortunately make eyes dry, itchy, red, puffy, swollen and watery. With this much irritation it can be hard for those affected by seasonal allergies to enjoy the outdoors at this time of year. If allergies are effecting your eyes, you’re not alone. Allergic conjunctivitis is the term used to describe allergies that affect the eyes. More specifically, it’s when allergies cause the conjunctiva (the membrane covering the white part of the eye) to inflame.

The eye’s reaction to allergies is only natural. Our eyes feel threatened by foreign substances (even if they’re harmless) and reacts by releasing histamine and other substances. Histamine is responsible for the onset of irritation and windy conditions and can worsen symptoms by blowing the allergens directly into the eyes.


Treatment and Relief of Seasonal Spring Allergies

If you suffer from seasonal allergies that affect your eyes, there are a number of things you can do to help alleviate symptoms. Start by identifying the triggers that cause your reactions so that you can find the appropriate treatment and solution.

  • Wearing sunglasses will not only protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, but they will help to keep pollen and debris out of your eyes. Putting on a hat will add additional protection.


  • Lubricating over-the-counter eye drops can provide temporary relief of symptoms and can help to flush out allergens. Tip! Refrigerate eye drops for additional soothing, comfort and relief. A lot of these eye drops contain antihistamines that block the effects of histamine.


  • Eliminating your exposure to the triggers can help to reduce symptoms. However, staying indoors 24/7 isn’t an ideal or realistic solution. Choose to stay indoors when pollen counts are at their highest, usually during mid-morning and early evening.


  • Turn on the air conditioner and close the windows to keep the allergens from entering your home.


  • Applying a cold compress to the eyes for a couple of minutes before leaving the house can also help to provide temporary relief.


  • It’s harder than it sounds, but avoid rubbing your eyes! It may provide relief for a moment, but it can actually release more of the chemicals and histamine that cause irritation.


  • If you’re a contact lens wearer, try removing your contacts. Contact lenses can create more discomfort because they make your eyes dry. Let your eyes breathe! In addition, contact lenses are like sponges, meaning they not only attract dust and debris (including allergens), but they can also accumulate on the lens. Switching to daily disposables can help to keep your contacts fresh and allergen-free.


If seasonal allergies are affecting your eyes and your life, it’s important to talk to your doctor. You may have allergic conjunctivitis. There are a number of prescription treatments available, including stronger eye drops that they can prescribe.

Bense Vision

Are seasonal allergies affecting your eyes? If so, we can help! We want you to enjoy the spring and summer months to come, so don’t hesitate to contact us. It is our mission to provide St. John’s with the most professional, reliable and state-of-the-art eye care. If you suffer from symptoms of dry eye, we can help with that too. We are the only accredited Dry Eye Center in Newfoundland and can treat all forms of dry eye. Your vision is important to us!