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Calgary doctors show vision

Calgary Vision CentreNew equipment helping Calgary Vision Centre
Calgary Herald February 13, 2012 
By Mario Toneguzzi

The Calgary Vision Centre likes to describe itself as a forward-thinking optometry practice.

And, with that in mind, it made the huge investment recently in a new machine which gives doctors Robert Burke and Justin Norris a comprehensive, 3-D image of a patient's eyeball.

Only a few clinics west of Ontario have the 3-D Optical Coherence Tomography machine, says Burke.

He says it is used with every patient and allows the doctors to detect small changes in an eyeball.

The decision to purchase the machine was not an easy one. It costs $80,000 to $90,000, but it's an indication of what Burke calls the "forward-thinking" nature of the practice.

"Now we get a picture, we get an analysis, that allows us to check for microscopic changes that could be the prelude to glaucoma, macular degeneration, a lot of diseases that will eventually cause blindness. We can catch that now before there's any signs or any symptoms," he says.

Calgary Vision Centre is in the heart of downtown in the Gulf Canada Square. It has a captive base of patients from the downtown tower as well as nearby towers which employ thousands of workers.

The clinic sees 5,000 to 6,000 people on an annual basis. It has four employees, besides the doctors, in a 1,300-square-foot space.

It was established in 1998 and operated under the name of Gulf Square Optometry. But the name changed to Calgary Vision Centre in 2010.

"We specialize in comprehensive optometry, meaning we do devote a large portion of our resources toward a thorough eye exam using some of the most advanced equipment currently available to us. We also have a full dispensary that does retail glasses, but our main focus is eye health first and then we go from there," says Burke.

"Over the last three years, which have been, from a broad economy point, tough years for lots of businesses, we've grown approximately 30 per cent and I think that has a lot to do with a lot of things we decided to change to increase efficiency and just kind of increase the overall patient experience."

That has included the creation of a couple of apps online. One is for patients who are able to answer a series of questions. This allows the centre to "triage" patients' eye problems and allows it to book appointments dependent on need.

A second app is just for eyecare professionals and shows a way to determine certain details of lazy eyes.

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Calgary Vision Centre

Description: Eye health services

Established: 1998

Co-owners: Dr. Justin Norris and Dr. Robert Burke

Employees: 4

Location: Suite 210, 401 9th Ave. S.W. (Gulf Canada Square)

Phone: 403-237-0505

Website: www.calgaryvisioncentre.com

Source: Calgary Herald