Hello LASIK (in Seoul)!
I’m actually able to type out this post sans glasses, contacts or giant font having had LASIK only two days ago. This is pretty great.
I had a week off and instead of trying to leave the country on the same day everyone else in Korea is, I decided to get eye surgery. This was something I had wanted for awhile but needed enough vacation time for the recovery (which turned out not even to be necessary, but more on that later)
After looking up reviews across the internets, I decided I would try out the Dream Eye Center. Out of the two locations, the Gangnam office seemed to have way more foreigner traffic and I really couldn’t find as much about the Myeongdong one (the facebook page has some good stuff). I figured that the Myeongdong clinic would be able to schedule a sort of last minute appointment with me and I was right – I was able to schedule the consultation, eye exams and surgery on the same day.
When I made my way to the Dream Eye Center (which btw is super easy to find), I was a bundle of gross nerves. This can’t be a unique feeling – who exactly is cool with lasers in their eyes? I could barely manage contacts when I had them so I was sure the day was going to be a nightmare. Instead, I can now add it to a list of really pleasant medical related experiences I’ve had in Korea.
I had let the staff know that I planned to have the surgery that day along with the consultation and a 2 hour eye exam. Even with all that to be done, I never felt rushed. The specialist, Ji Yae, even made time to explain in impeccable English every test and detail about my vision. I’ve now seen every possible angle of my eye/retina/cornea…I’m sure that’s a good thing and not a gross thing, right? Yes.
The exams confirmed that my vision indeed sucked but not so bad that I couldn’t opt for LASIK (quick easy recovery) instead of LASEK (slower recovery). I was told I could come back in a few hours to get started on my surgery. To pass the time, I did some window shopping - TIP: Do NOT go into retail stores with dilated pupils! The light they use in those places is obnoxious and the worst. But as a testament to how sweet and patient and calming Ji Yae was, I had no problem chowing down before the LASIK and no longer felt the sense of dread I had come to the clinic with.
I was pretty comfortable when the LASIK was starting up but not so much that I didn’t squeeze the life out of my nurse’s hand and a plush toy they gave me during the surgery.
Thankfully, before I got worked up, the surgery was over and the speakers were blasting some congratulatory music (n0, really). All of 10 minutes later, I was reading a sign outside the operating room with vision already clearer than my glasses ever gave me. The anesthesia made me feel pretty invincible during my time in the recovery room, the check up and the subway ride home. Ji Yae warned me that the pain would be pretty bad that night but at the worst, I had a really high sensitivity to light and what felt like a little bit of soap in my eye for a couple hours. No big deal. Went to bed. Slept like a baby.
Somehow my vision was clearer than it had been last night and, better yet, I could now be in the light. I went to my next day check up which was generally uneventful but upon taking a vision test I learned my eyesight was better than 20/20 and was expected to get better as my eyes healed more. Super psyched.
Nothing more to tell. I feel near a hundred percent. The dryness that seems to typically follow LASIK hasn’t really bothered me yet but I have an arsenal of eyedrops from the clinic just in case. This has been a great experience so far…I’m glad I had the support to go through with it.Notable Notables:
- I got scheduling texts from the clinic to make sure I arrived and stuff. Very cute.
- My parting kit including normal stuff like info about the LASIK, eyedrops, antibiotics, anti inflammatory drops AND it also had a handwritten not from my nurse…there were stickers and congratulatory remarks regarding my new found freedom from glasses. Also there were goggles.
- The nurses and surgeons were incredibly patient with my non cooperating eyes. For example, where I might have said “JUST OPEN YOUR DAMN EYES” they were all like “Please….please…let’s open them!”
- I got to choose the music I could listen to while in the recovery room. I chose Jazz
- Post surgery, daylight was awful but frickin artificial lights were crippling (neons, halogens, tv/computer screens) And they are also inescapable in Korea.