Home Community Taking Vision to the Next Level: Katmai Eye and Vision Center

Taking Vision to the Next Level: Katmai Eye and Vision Center

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At Katmai Eye and Vision Center, the approach to vision care is a little different and the array of services they offer is more expansive than many other eye care options. If you’re looking for a smaller, family-friendly practice that spends time with each patient and really gets to know each individual, Katmai Eye is likely a good choice.

Katmai Eye and Vision Center offers eye care exams and glasses. They also provide contact lenses and fitting. When vision needs go beyond the limits of glasses or contacts, they can perform neuro-perceptual evaluations and treatments. Other services offered include traumatic brain injury visual recovery treatment and sports vision training that can take an athlete to the next level by improving visual response times, eye-hand coordination and vision awareness.

We recently sat down with Dr. Laura Kompkoff, OD, FCOVD one of the two partners in Katmai Eye and Vision Center, to learn more about how she and Dr. Sheryl Lentfer, OD met and started their practice in 2015.

How Did Katmai Eye and Vision Center get started?

Both Sherry and I have fathers who were optometrists, so our story begins with them. Sherry ended up doing one of her clinical rotations at my dad’s clinic in Seattle. At that time, I was going to the University of Washington and working as a tech at my dad’s practice, so that’s how we met. Sherry ended up working at her dad’s practice in Anchorage and I asked if I could do one of my clinical rotations with them. I ended up living and practicing in the Seattle area for 12 years, but my husband is from Alaska and I loved my time here, so eventually, we moved here to stay. Once I returned to Alaska, I approached Sherry about working together and Katmai Eye and Vision Center was born.

What makes Katmai Eye and Vision Center unique?

Sherry and I both have an interest in visual function – the process of looking at how the brain is using your eyes and how we can make that better. Sometimes, we can find ways to help patients not rely on glasses or contact lenses so much or to actually improve their vision. We are the only place in Anchorage that provides vision therapy – whether that is helping someone with a brain injury or a child who is struggling in school. Many of our patients are adults who all of a sudden start getting double vision or who feel that glasses are no longer solving their vision issues. We are able to spend more time and get to the root cause of your vision problem.

Are there eye health trends that have come with the pandemic?

Yes, unfortunately we are seeing a lot of people with dry eye symptoms. Wearing a mask all day can contribute to dry eyes. Just being in Alaska with its cold  and dry winters contributes to dry eye problems. Many people are spending more time at the computer screen, too. We blink about 1/3 of the normal rate when we are looking at the computer screen. When we look at something close, our muscles are flexing to stare at the screen and eventually our eyes don’t function correctly. We are seeing a lot of Alaskans who are suffering from headaches and eye strain. My advice is to look away from the screen and off at something far away every 20 minutes to give your eyes a needed break.

I also worry about young children who are spending a lot more time on their computers. Some studies have shown that young people can suffer from near point stress, which can increase nearsightedness. We are studying this closely and I wonder if we will see kids needed glasses at younger ages in the future as a result of the increased time students are spending with online school and video gaming.

Are there some simple things that our readers can do to improve their eye health?

Absolutely. The first thing I would recommend is UV protection. Here in Alaska, we are out in the snow or on the water and the reflections are really strong. It’s very important to protect your eyes in those conditions, and at all times.

I’d also say that diet plays a really big part in vision health. Eat as much salmon and green leafy vegetables as you can, they’ve been proven to prevent eye disease and help with dry eyes.

To learn more about Katmai Eye and Vision Center and its services, visit www.katmaieye.com or call them at (907) 334-3937 (EYES).

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Kathy Day is a Content Creator for Live Breathe Alaska. She moved to Alaska from Colorado after college and is now braving her 36th winter. In addition to owning her own public relations agency for the last 20+ years, Kathy enjoys kayaking, women’s softball, swimming, giving Segway tours, and fishing on the Kenai River. She and her husband, Eric, are always planning their next Alaska cabin adventure. Kathy’s passions include mentoring other women business owners, caring for elders, hiking with her Chocolate Lab Zoie and being a mom to two high school/college-age sons. Bio Photo Credit: Diana Maioriello

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